The recent run of daily one- to four-cent price increases slowed heading into the weekend, with prices now dipping slightly to start the week. However, increased demand and higher global oil prices pushed the national average for a gallon of gas up eight cents since last week to $3.50, according to AAA.
“January’s weather was relatively mild in much of the nation, which led to more drivers hitting the road. However, a return of wintery conditions in February may see a revival of seasonal driving patterns,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, “but with the cost of oil stubbornly hovering around $80 per barrel, drivers probably won’t catch a big break at the pump over the next week or two.”
According to data from the Energy Information Administration, gas demand rose slightly from 8.05 to 8.14 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 1.7 million bbl to 232 million bbl. Rising gas demand and elevated oil prices have contributed to higher pump prices.
Today’s national average of $3.50 is 33 cents more than a month ago and 14 cents more than a year ago.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Colorado (+18 cents), Florida (+15 cents), Kansas (+15 cents), Georgia (+14 cents), Tennessee (+13 cents), Illinois (+12 cents), Alabama (+12 cents), Minnesota (+12 cents), Iowa (+12 cents) and Wyoming (+11 cents).
The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: Hawaii ($4.93), California ($4.55), Washington ($4.12), Nevada ($3.98), Colorado ($3.83), Pennsylvania ($3.79), Oregon ($3.77), Alaska ($3.74), Illinois ($3.68) and Washington, D.C. ($3.62).
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.33 to settle at $79.68. Although a higher dollar contributed to pushing prices lower at the end of the week, oil prices rose earlier last week amid ongoing market optimism that global oil demand will be more robust than anticipated in 2023 due to China re-opening its economy after imposing strict COVID-19 lockdowns that curtailed demand. For this week, crude prices could increase again if the market sees more indications that inflation may be cooling, which could keep oil demand robust despite ongoing concerns that a recession may occur this year.
Drivers can find current gas prices along their route using the AAA TripTik Travel planner.