Pump prices fluctuate as demand declines

(June 8, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — After 10 days of stability, the national gas price average increased a penny over the weekend to $3.05. On the week, the majority of states’ (26) gas price averages either increased by one cent or saw no movement. Only two states saw prices increase a nickel or more. Prices are poised to fluctuate in the coming week, especially in light of a recent drop in demand.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported demand decreased from 9.48 million barrels a day to 9.15 million barrels a day for the week ending May 28. During the same week, total gasoline stocks increased to nearly 234 million barrels as U.S. refinery utilization jumped to 88.7% — the highest rate since February 2020.

“We expect this week’s demand number to increase as it will reflect Memorial Day holiday weekend travel, but it’s not likely to lead to an increase in gas prices for the majority of motorists,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “However, crude oil is on the rise and could prop up pump prices.”

To help gauge pump price fluctuation later this summer, AAA is tracking two additional factors: crude oil prices and global supply. Last week, crude prices increased to their highest price point ($69/barrels) in 2.5 years. Since crude accounts for more than 50% of the price at the pump, when it goes up, so does the price motorists pay. What is promising is that crude may not sustain at this level. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and its allies including Russia, announced last week they still plan to gradually increase crude production in July. If they do increase production, this could lead to a decrease in crude oil prices, which is good news for motorists.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Indiana (+8 cents), Colorado (+5 cents), Kansas (+4 cents), Wyoming (+4 cents), Missouri (+4 cents), Wisconsin (+4 cents), Washington, D.C. (+3 cents), Idaho (+3 cents), Hawaii (+3 cents) and Ohio (−3 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Texas ($2.69), Louisiana ($2.70), Mississippi ($2.71), Oklahoma ($2.74), Missouri ($2.75), Arkansas ($2.76), South Carolina ($2.80), Alabama ($2.81), Minnesota ($2.84) and Florida ($2.85).