Gasoline demand is again defying seasonal trends and has dipped for the second straight week
Washington, D.C.—As the cost of a barrel of oil has remained near $110, the gas price decline has slowed. After hitting $4.33 on March 11, the national average for a gallon of gasoline is now $4.24, but only down a penny since last week. Domestically, gasoline demand is again defying seasonal trends and has dipped for the second straight week, perhaps due to higher pump prices and consumers altering their driving habits.
“The global oil market reflects the volatility caused by the war in Ukraine grinding onward,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “And with oil prices refusing to fall, the price at the pump is likewise meeting resistance at dropping further.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 3 million bbl to 238 million bbl last week. Gasoline demand also decreased from 8.94 million b/d to 8.63 million b/d. The drop in gas demand is contributing to price decreases. However, the steady increase in the price of oil is slowing that decline. If oil prices continue to rise, pump prices will likely follow suit, reversing course from the current downward trend.
Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $4.24, which is one cent less than a week ago, 63 cents more than a month ago, and $1.38 more than a year ago.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes: Georgia (−17 cents), Nevada (+13 cents), Utah (+9 cents), Montana (+8 cents), Arizona (+8 cents), Wyoming (+8 cents), Delaware (+7 cents), Washington, D.C. (+7 cents), Idaho (+6 cents) and California (+6 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Missouri ($3.78), Kansas ($3.80), Oklahoma ($3.81), Arkansas ($3.82), Maryland ($3.82), Nebraska ($3.87), Texas ($3.87), Iowa ($3.88), North Dakota ($3.91) and Mississippi ($3.91).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.56 to settle at $113.90. Crude prices climbed after EIA’s weekly report revealed that total domestic crude stocks declined last week by 2.5 million bbl to 413.4 million bbl, approximately 18 percent lower than the level in mid-March 2021. The current inventory level highlights tightness in the market, contributing to rising prices. For this week, crude prices may fall on news that Shanghai is imposing new lockdown measures to curb COVID-19 transmission rates, which would likely reduce crude demand. According to the EIA, China became the world’s largest buyer of crude oil in 2017.