Crude oil, and in turn gas prices, are more expensive compared to years past mostly due to three major factors: confidence in worldwide vaccination rollout, global oil demand spikes, and the easing of travel restrictions leading to optimism for leisure travel. Last week, crude oil sold at $74/bbl, the highest price in nearly three years. Motorists can expect little relief at the pump following the holiday. With crude oil prices likely to continue climbing, gas prices are most likely to see increases through the end of summer.
Today’s national average is more expensive on the week (+2 cents), the month (+5 cents) and the year (+92 cents). The latest weekly increase follows the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, which showed that gas demand increased from 9.36 million b/d to 9.44 million b/d, while total domestic gas stocks decreased by 3 million bbl to 240 million bbl.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Utah (+12 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Oregon (+9 cents), Washington (+9 cents), New Mexico (+8 cents), Alaska (+8 cents), Wyoming (+8 cents), Idaho (+8 cents), Minnesota (+7 cents) and Colorado (+7 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.73), Louisiana ($2.74), Texas ($2.77), Arkansas ($2.79), Alabama ($2.80), Oklahoma ($2.80), Missouri ($2.80), South Carolina ($2.81), Tennessee ($2.84) and Kentucky ($2.85).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased 75 cents to settle at $74.05. Crude prices increased last week due to optimism that vaccine rollout will continue to help crude demand recover. In fact, the price of crude crossed the $74 per barrel threshold and prices have not been at this level since October 2018. Additionally, crude prices were bolstered by EIA’s latest report revealing that total domestic crude supplies decreased by 7.6 million bbl to 459.1 million bbl. For this week, another reduction in domestic crude supply could push prices up further after EIA’s next weekly report is released.