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National gas prices jolt up as arctic blast shutters refineries; Campbell County sees 23 cent hike

(AAA Graphic)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County has seen its average price for a gallon of regular fuel jump 23 cents in a week as the national average also rose for the first time in two months.

The national average is up 12.3 cents from a week ago to $3.17 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy data compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports. Even with the hike, the national average is down 22.5 cents from a month ago and is 9.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

The national average price of diesel has fallen 1.4 cents in the last week and stands at $4.67 per gallon.

“For the first time in two months, the nation’s average price of gasoline rose sharply last week, as extremely cold weather led to many refinery issues, shutting down over a million barrels of refining capacity, pushing wholesale prices up,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “In addition, China’s reopening plans gave markets inspiration that global oil demand will start to recover, as China’s nearly three year Covid-zero policies appear to be coming to an end.”

“While the jump at the pump will likely be temporary as most refiners get back online after cold-weather related issues, some regions like the Rockies may see more price increases than others as cold-weather shutdowns hit the region fairly hard, with one refinery likely remaining down through the first quarter of 2023. Most areas have seen the bulk of the rise already hit, but should oil continue to rally, more increases could be on the way.”

AAA reported the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline at $3.28 per gallon, up 18 cents from a week ago, and placed Wyoming’s average lower at $2.94, up 6 cents from last week. Campbell County’s average gas price of $2.77 per gallon is the fourth cheapest in the state and more than $1 less than Teton County’s average price of $3.82, according to AAA.

The cheapest price offered by a Campbell County gas station on Tuesday is $2.69 at Sinclair, 111 Highway 14-16 N., 405 W. Lakeway Road, 802 E. 2nd St. and 920 E. Laramie St.; at Smith’s, 401 S. Douglas Highway; and Conoco, 302 W. Lakeway Road, according to GasBuddy reports.

Also included in GasBuddy’s report Tuesday:

After rallying last week as China began to reopen its economy, the oil price rebound has somewhat stalled in recent days. At the open Tuesday after the holiday extended weekend, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was down $1.02 per barrel to $79.24, some 50 cents lower than last Tuesday’s start. Brent crude oil was also in the red, down 96 cents to $84.95 per barrel, about 70 cents higher than last Tuesday. With the holidays now behind us, oil markets may see a bit more activity, but while China’s reopening is a long term bullish factor, a short term surge in Covid cases is likely, subduing a quick recovery in oil demand. In addition, cold weather during the week of Christmas impacted many refineries, stifling oil use for refining operations.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was unchanged at 779 and was 193 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count fell 12 to 84 and was 6 rigs lower than a year ago.

Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a slight 700,000 build in oil inventories, while the SPR fell another 3.5 million barrels. Domestic crude oil production fell slightly to 12.0 million barrels per day, just 200,000 higher than a year ago. Gasoline inventories fell by 3.1 million barrels while distillate inventories rose by 300,000 barrels, and remain about 7% below the seasonal five year average. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail gasoline demand, surged to 9.33 million barrels per day as Americans fueled up ahead of the Artic blast and traveled for Christmas. Refinery utilization rose 1.1 percentage points to 92.0%, a number that will surely fall next week due to the cold weather shutting many refineries. Total U.S. oil supply stands 23.8 million barrels higher than a year ago, excluding the SPR. Including it, stocks are down 196.1 million barrels.

According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy card, U.S. retail gasoline demand plummeted last week (Sun-Sat) by 13.7% due to motorists pre-filling ahead of the blizzard and weak post-holiday travel. Broken down by PADD region, demand fell 12.5% in PADD 1, fell 16.9% in PADD 2, fell 12.5% in PADD 3, fell 11.1% in PADD 4, and fell 10.2% in PADD 5.

The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.29, $2.89, $3.09 and $3.19 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.09 per gallon, up 17 cents from last week and about 10 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.22 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.66 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Georgia ($2.74), Oklahoma ($2.81), and Mississippi ($2.81).
The states with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($4.93), California ($4.34), and Nevada ($3.90).


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