US National Average Gasoline Price Just Short of Multiyear High

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The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by five cents again last week to start the new week at $2.81, according to the latest data from GasBuddy. Month over month, the price is up nearly 15 cents a gallon, and it is nearly 45 cents a gallon higher year over year. Last month the national average was $2.659, while the year-ago average was $2.360.

Crude oil prices slipped a bit last week after adding 10% a barrel in the prior two-week period. Retail pump prices are just now catching up with that sharp increase.

U.S. petroleum inventories rose last week, with crude oil stockpiles up by 2.2 million barrels and gasoline inventories up by 800,000 barrels. Crude oil exports reached an all-time high of 2.3 million barrels a day last week.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said:

The national average is now at its highest point since November 2014 with average gas prices advancing in nearly every state. The only good news for motorists? We’re nearing a turning point in the U.S.- gas prices are perhaps just a dime away from hitting a peak for the short-term, pending OPEC’s meeting in June. With refineries well positioned for the summer months, we’re looking for some relief by mid-June, but expect this summer to remain one of the priciest in the last few years as average prices climb close to the psychological $3 per gallon barrier.

According to GasBuddy, states where prices moved most last week were: Michigan (up nine cents); Delaware (up eight cents); Missouri, Georgia and New Jersey (up seven cents); and Connecticut, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Arizona and Texas (up six cents).

States with the lowest average prices last week included: Oklahoma ($2.49); Arkansas ($2.51); Missouri and Louisiana ($2.53); Kansas, South Carolina and Alabama ($2.55); Texas ($2.57); Tennessee ($2.59); and South Dakota ($2.61).

The highest average prices per gallon last week were reported from California ($3.60); Hawaii ($3.59); Washington ($3.24); Alaska and Nevada ($3.23); Oregon ($3.15); Utah ($3.11); Idaho ($3.05); Pennsylvania ($3.02); and Connecticut ($2.96).

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for June delivery traded up about 0.7% in the noon hour Monday, at $68.55, while Brent for July delivery traded at $74.477. The price differential (spread) between WTI and Brent crude rose by 81 cents to $6.22 a barrel week over week.

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