AAA ALERT: Holiday Driving Demand Causes Temporary Increase At The Pump

WASHINGTON, DC — Heading into the final week of the year, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $2.44, an increase of two cents on the week. As more drivers hit the road for the holidays, the increase in driving demand is likely the cause for increases in some states. Despite the incremental jump, motorists in 33 states are paying less on the week – as much as nine cents. Today’s average is about 26 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The cheapest gas can be found in Alabama ($2.17), while Hawaii ($3.29) sells the most expensive.

“The majority of motorists have seen savings at the pump this month. The national gas price average is over five cents cheaper than the beginning of December,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

Quick Stats

The top ten markets with the largest weekly changes are: Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+15 cents), Indiana (+12 cents), Illinois (+11 cents), Kentucky (+9 cents), Alaska (-9 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents), Missouri (+5 cents), North Dakota (-4 cents) and West Virginia (+4 cents).

The nation’s top ten least expensive markets are: Alabama ($2.17), Texas ($2.17), Mississippi ($2.18), Arkansas ($2.18), Oklahoma ($2.19), South Carolina ($2.20), Missouri ($2.20), Louisiana ($2.22), Kansas ($2.22) and Tennessee ($2.23).

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast

Gas prices range from a low of $2.23 in Tennessee to high of $2.69 in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. With a 12 cent price difference, Delaware saw the largest monthly decline in gas prices in the region.

According to the latest EIA report, gasoline inventories in the region increased by 1.2 million bbl on the week despite an increase in driving demand.

Oil market dynamics

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up 11 cents to settle at $58.47. The price of oil took a slight hit last week after EIA’s weekly report revealed another record for U.S. crude production, which stands at 9.789 million b/d. Moreover, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. active oil rig count remained the same as it did last week, holding steady at 747.

In addition, crude oil inventories declined by 6.5 million bbl, driven mostly by high crude processing rates at refineries across the country. Gross crude inputs for this month have been running consistently above 17 million b/d, which has never happened before 2017. As the year draws to a close, market observers will watch this week’s data from EIA to see if high gasoline demand eats away at crude inventories, or if high levels of domestic crude production will build inventories despite high gasoline demand.

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.

(NOTE: The above press release is from AAA.)

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