The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.61 per gallon, which is eight cents more than last week, 22 cents more than a month ago, and two cents more than a year ago, reports AAA.
Gas prices have increased this week as demand continues to increase while total domestic stocks decrease. Demand for gasoline increased by 269,000 barrels per day from the previous week, according to new data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Demand now sits at 9.4 million b/d, which is 85,000 b/d higher than last year at this time and 200,000 b/d higher than two years ago. The increase in demand helped to reduce total domestic gasoline stocks, which fell by 4.6 million barrels to 241.5 million barrels last week. As these trends continue, American motorists can expect to see gas prices continue to rise moving into next week.
AAA reports that the nation’s least expensive markets are Utah and Alabama at $2.34. The highest state average can be found in California where motorists are paying an average of $3.43 a gallon.
“Nebraska’s state average is up seventeen cents a gallon during the past week alone to $2.56 a gallon,” says Rose White, spokesperson for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “During the past month, the state average has climbed 27 cents a gallon. The current price is just one cent lower than the state average reported a year ago.”
Iowa motorists are paying an average of $2.56 a gallon which is three cents higher compared to the state average reported a year ago. During the past month, the average price for a gallon of unleaded fuel in Iowa increased 28 cents a gallon.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI crude settled at $59.04 a barrel. New data from the Energy Information Administration revealed that total domestic crude inventories fell by nearly 10 million barrels last week to 439.5 million barrels. The larger-than-expected drawdown could be a sign of higher crude prices in the near future. As crude prices continue to rise, pump prices will likely follow suit as the country enters the spring and summer driving seasons.