Great Lakes and Central States
The nation’s largest weekly gas price increases can be found for a second week in the Great Lakes and Central States region. Five states from the region land on the top 10 list for largest jumps, though this week’s increases are less than a dime: Wisconsin (+7 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Nebraska (+5 cents) and Minnesota (+5 cents).
With increases over the last two weeks, Illinois ($2.13) is the only state in the region whose average has jumped back over $2/gallon. At $1.86, Indiana carries the second most expensive average in the region, while Missouri ($1.54) touts the cheapest.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that regional gasoline stocks have decreased for six straight weeks, bringing total stock levels down to the lowest measurement of the year at 54 million bbl. However, stocks remain above the year-ago level of 49.5 million bbl and the five-year average of 52.6 million bbl.
South and Southeast
Gas prices continue to push more expensive for the majority of South and Southeast states as most of the region pushes towards re-opening. With an increase of six cents, Arkansas ($1.52) and Tennessee ($1.62) saw the largest jumps on the week. South and Southeast state pump price averages remain below $2/gallon by 25 – 50 cents. Florida ($1.77) carries the most expensive average while Arkansas ($1.52) touts the cheapest.
Motorists continue to enjoy vastly cheaper prices – 90 cents to more than a dollar cheaper – compared to last year. Even with prices expected to push more expensive this month, filling up will continue to be a cost savings compared to May 2019.
Regional gasoline stocks continue to measure at very healthy levels despite a 1.2 million draw in the EIA’s latest report. Total stocks now measure at 88.3 million bbl. That is 17 million bbl more than the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions’ stock level, which is the region with the second highest stock level in the country. While gas prices are likely to increase alongside demand, the healthy stock level should contribute to smaller jumps at the pump.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
On the week, Pennsylvania (+8 cents) saw the largest increase among Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states and saw the second biggest jump of all states in the country. Otherwise states in the region saw mostly increases of a few pennies, but no more than a nickel. State averages range between $2.17 in Washington, D.C. to $1.71 in North Carolina. In addition to Washington, D.C., New York ($2.15) and Pennsylvania ($2.14) carry the most expensive averages in the region and land among the top 10 highest in the country.
While gasoline stocks saw a slight increase, to push total stocks to nearly 71 million bbl, regional refinery rates dropped just below 50%. As more states in the region move towards opening, which is likely to increase gasoline demand, motorists can expect gas prices to increase, but still remain cheap compared to typical May pump prices.
Motorists in the Rockies are seeing significant savings – more than a $1/gallon – at the pump year-over-year. Idaho (-$1.22), Utah (-$1.17) and Montana (-$1.12) all land on the top 10 list for largest yearly difference in the country. Wyoming has a difference of 97 cents less year-over-year.
The past week brought fluctuation through the region with Idaho (+17 cents), Colorado (+7 cents) and Utah (+6 cents) seeing increases as the pump. Wyoming ($1.82) and Montana ($1.74) mostly held steady. With the jump, Utah’s average increased to $2.02, the only state in the Rockies region with an average more than $1.99/gallon.
Regional gasoline stocks have consistently decreased for six weeks according to EIA data. The latest draw of 400,000 bbl puts total stocks right at 8 million bbl as refinery rates bump up to 70%. Even with gas prices poised to see further fluctuation in the week ahead, motorists in the region are still saving when they fill-up.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.87 cents to settle at $29.43 per barrel. Crude prices increased last week amid growing market optimism that crude demand continues to rebound as more states re-open and demand for gasoline has grown in recent weeks. For this week, crude prices may continue to rise if the market believes that the 9.7 million b/d production reduction agreement for May and June 2020 between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major crude exporters, including Russia, is helping to rebalance the global oil market as demand remains low due to COVID-19.