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Gas prices rise again, still much cheaper than a year ago

(GasBuddy)For the second straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline has risen, jumping 8 cents from a week ago to $3.44 per gallon Sunday according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations across the country. The national average is up 7.1 cents from a month ago but 87.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fallen 4.1 cents in the last week and stands at $4.30 per gallon, 82.1 cents lower than one year ago.

“With the transition to more expensive summer gasoline underway coast to coast, wholesale gasoline prices continue to inch up at a rate typical for this time of year, reflected in the national average rising for the second straight week,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While oil prices edged slightly lower on weaker outlooks for economic growth, continued refinery maintenance and the higher cost of seasonal blends of fuel are offsetting oil’s decline. The price of diesel, however, continues to slowly decline as we see consumption for diesel lighten up. The best news for both gasoline and diesel prices is how significant a drop we’ve seen from year-ago levels, with more disinflation to come in the weeks ahead, even as gas prices are likely to inch up.”

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With markets fretting over the weekend’s bank shutdowns, oil prices were solidly in the red to start the new week, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil down $1.25 to $75.43 per barrel, an over $3 per barrel drop from last Monday’s $78.64 fetch. Brent crude oil was also solidly negative, down $1.27 per barrel to $81.51 per barrel, down from last Monday’s $84.61 per barrel start. China’s slower economic rebound has also been credited with cooling off oil rallies over the last month, but with cases starting to decline, there remains some hope that China’s consumption may start to rise. The weekend bank saga, however, poured a bucket of cold water on those hopes as fears continued over additional regional bank challenges Monday, with the sector seeing sizable pre-market declines as the Federal Reserve, FDIC and U.S. Treasury amp up new programs to tackle the drop in confidence due to the shutdowns of several banks.

Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed the first decline in U.S. oil inventories in weeks, of 1.7 million barrels, while the SPR was unchanged. Domestic crude production hit a snag, falling 100,000 barrels to 12.2 million per day. Gasoline inventories fell 1.1 million barrels as refinery maintenance and the change to lower RVP spec summer fuels progresses. Implied demand, a proxy for retail demand, fell 550,000bpd to 8.56 million. Distillate inventories eked out a 100,000 barrel rise, while refinery utilization rose a measured 0.2 percentage points to 86.0%. Total oil inventories are up 113.3 million barrels from a year ago, while they are down 92.7 million factoring in the SPR.

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According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight rebound of 0.3% last week (Sun-Sat) ahead of spring break travel plans. Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 0.6% in PADD 1, fell 0.0% in PADD 2, rose 1.3% in PADD 3, rose 0.5% in PADD 4, and rose 0.1% in PADD 5.

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.29 per gallon, up 30 cents from last week, followed by $3.19, $3.09, $3.39, and $3.49 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.29 per gallon, up 8 cents from last week and about 15 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.70 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.92 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Oklahoma ($2.97), Mississippi ($3.00), and Arkansas ($3.06).
The states with the highest average prices: California ($4.87), Hawaii ($4.81), and Nevada ($4.29).

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The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $4.19, $4.29, $3.89, and $4.09 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $4.19 per gallon, down 4 cents from last week and about 11 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.38 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.64 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Oklahoma ($3.79), Texas ($3.80), and Kansas ($3.92).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: Hawaii ($5.99), California ($5.53), and Maine ($5.23).

As reported by WANE 15