TAMPA, Fla. ( — Motorists saw modest movement at the gas pump last week. Gas prices inched higher in Florida, slipped slightly lower in Georgia, and remained the same in Tennessee.
“This is the type of volatility we expect to see at the pump this time of year, as supply and demand patterns shift,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Falling oil prices have helped offset inventory declines in most states, keeping gas prices low. Also, demand has been off to a slow start this year throughout most of the U.S. However, it is beginning to ramp-up in Florida. We also saw a decline in gasoline inventories last week, which normally triggers rising prices at the pump. Gasoline demand in Florida surges in March, because there are more drivers visiting for Spring Break and Spring Training, combined with ‘winter residents’ who came to the sunshine state for a break from the cold.”
Motorists can find the lowest 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.
“During the month of April, drivers across the country will see gas prices begin to climb as the industry completes spring maintenance and the switchover to summer-blend gasoline,” Jenkins said. “AAA projects the national average for a gallon of gasoline will increase 40 cents this summer, peaking near $2.70, which is 70 cents higher than it was last summer. Whether gas prices reach that peak will depend on the direction of oil prices, which have slipped lower in recent weeks.”
Crude oil prices remain low due to elevated U.S. inventories, rising production, and increased rig counts. The weekly average price for crude oil was $47.85 – 65 cents less than the week before. The weekly average declined for the fifth consecutive week, hitting the lowest level since November 25, 2016.
(Based on weekly data provided by the EIA)
U.S. crude inventories increased by 5% to 533.1 million barrels – the upper limit of the average range for this time of year
Domestic crude production increased 0.22% to 9,129,000 barrels – the highest daily production rate since February 2016
Gasoline demand declined 0.58%. This is the third consecutive weekly decline in demand. The current level is 3.19% less than a year ago.
Gasoline inventories decreased nationwide by 2.8 million barrels last week, which could be an indicator of rising prices in the future.
Gasoline production increased 2.42% to 9.8 million barrels per day – nearly 1% higher than a year ago.
Refineries operated at 87% capacity – up 2.5 percentage points from the week before. Gulf Coast refineries rose 3 percentage points from the week prior.
The U.S. rig count rose again last week to 809 – up 3 percent from a week ago; 74 percent higher than last year.