According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks grew by 2.1 million bbl to 250 million bbl last week. However, gasoline demand dropped from 8.51 million b/d to 8.23 million b/d. Usually, an increase in total stocks and a decrease in demand puts downward pressure on pump prices, but the rising cost of oil continues to push prices higher instead. If crude prices continue to climb, pump prices will likely follow suit.
Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $3.44, which is 14 cents more than a month ago and 98 cents more than a year ago.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Michigan (+15 cents), Ohio (+14 cents), Florida (+12 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Minnesota (+11 cents), Delaware (+11 cents), Maryland (+10 cents), Illinois (+9 cents), Wisconsin (+9 cents) and Kansas (+9 cents).
The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($4.68), Hawaii ($4.40), Washington ($3.95), Oregon ($3.93), Nevada ($3.86), Alaska ($3.78), Arizona ($3.64), Washington, D.C. ($3.62), Illinois ($3.61) and Pennsylvania ($3.61).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $2.04 to settle at $92.31. The tension between Russia and Ukraine continues to contribute to rising oil prices. Russia is a member of OPEC+, and any sanctions based on their actions toward Ukraine may cause it to withhold crude oil from the global market. Additionally, EIA reported that total domestic crude stocks decreased by 1.1 million bbl to 415.1 million bbl. The current stock level is approximately 13 percent lower than at the end of January 2021, contributing to pressure on domestic crude prices. If EIA’s next report shows another inventory decline, crude prices could continue to rise.