While damage assessments are still being made in the wake of Hurricane Idalia, pump prices remained in neutral, with the national average for a gallon of gas falling by a penny since last week to $3.82. Oil and gas experts have noted that overall gasoline demand this summer failed to match previous years, with consumption getting little "lift" from vacation travel this summer despite retail gasoline prices below last year's. There is a lot of speculation as to why, but no one seems to know for sure.
“With visits to the pump rather flat and the price of oil hovering around the $80 per barrel mark, the national average for a gallon of gas will likely stay where it is through this holiday weekend,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “Hurricane Idalia may cause regional price jumps due to station damage, flooded roads, and power outages, but as in past years, these things are usually fixed in a few weeks.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased slightly from 8.91 to 9.07 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks took a slight step back to 217.4 million bbl. Although demand has increased, fluctuating oil prices have limited pump price increases.
Today's national average of $3.82 is seven cents more than a month ago but two cents less than a year ago.
Since last Thursday, these 10 states have seen the largest changes in their averages: Indiana (−11 cents), Ohio (+10 cents), Utah (+10 cents), Maryland (−10 cents), Delaware (−10 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents), Arizona (+7 cents), Michigan (−7 cents), Alaska (+6 cents) and Florida (−6 cents).
The nation's top 10 most expensive markets: California ($5.29), Washington ($5.10), Hawaii ($4.79), Oregon ($4.76), Alaska ($4.61), Nevada ($4.51), Arizona ($4.32), Utah ($4.32), Idaho ($4.16) and Illinois ($4.06).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by 47 cents to settle at $81.63. Oil prices rose yesterday amid ongoing concern Hurricane Idalia would interrupt fuel supply in the Southeast. However, some fuel terminals have resumed operations, and more are expected in the coming days as storms subside and damage assessments can be undertaken. Additionally, the EIA reported that total domestic commercial crude inventories decreased significantly from 433.5 to 422.9 million bbl.
Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.