Drivers in the Pacific Northwest are paying some of the nation’s highest prices for retail gasoline. After 16 consecutive weeks, Alaska ($3.47) has unseated California ($3.45) as the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline and is followed by regional neighbors – Hawaii ($3.37), Washington ($3.19) and Nevada ($3.19) – as the five most expensive markets. A total of seven states are registering averages above $3 per gallon. Consumers in South Carolina ($2.45) are paying the lowest averages at the pump.
State level gas prices have been relatively stable over the past week, moving by +/- 3 cents in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in 39 states are experiencing weekly savings in the price at the pump, led by Illinois (-7 cents), Delaware (-6 cents) and Minnesota (-6 cents). Pump prices are up in 11 states and Washington, D.C., with the largest increases in price seen in the Midwestern state of Ohio (+8 cents).
The majority of drivers (44 states and Washington, D.C.) are paying more at the pump than one month ago, primarily due to the lingering effects of localized refinery issues. Retail averages are up by double-digits in ten states, led by the Midwestern states of Michigan (+21 cents) and Ohio (+18). On the other end of the spectrum, monthly comparisons reflect discounts in the price of retail gasoline in six states. Prices on the West Coast are recovering from a string of refinery issues, and motorists in California (-26 cents) and Nevada (-11 cents) are finally experiencing some price relief as production returns to normal.
Drivers nationwide are paying considerably less at the pump to refuel their vehicles compared to a year ago. Retail averages are discounted by more than $1 in three states: Kentucky (-$1.02), Connecticut (-$1.02) and Michigan (-$1.01), and motorists in 45 states and Washington D.C. are saving more than 75 cents per gallon year-over-year.
Concerns of oversupply continue to characterize the global oil market. The pending June 30 deadline for an Iranian nuclear deal could contribute further to the market’s oversupply if current sanctions are removed and Iranian oil returns to the global market. However, a string of attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait have been closely watched for any impact on geopolitical instability in crude-producing regions in the Middle East and North Africa. Escalating tensions in these regions have the potential to cause supply disruptions, which could contribute to price volatility in the near term.
Market watchers are also paying close attention the European Union, where Greece may default on its debt obligations this week. This sets up a Greek referendum for this coming weekend on whether the country should accept a bailout deal offered by international creditors. This news sent global oil prices lower this morning on worries of reduced global demand and the potential for instability in global financial markets.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI was down seven cents and settled at $59.63 per barrel.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.