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National average gas price falls 1.9 cents; local average down 3 cents

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GILLETTE, Wyo. — Both the national and local average prices for a gallon of regular gasoline fell for the first time in four weeks. Nationally, the decline was 1.9 cents; in Campbell County, it was 3 cents.

The nation’s average price fell to $3.24 per gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy data. The national average is up 13.3 cents from a month ago but down 9.2 cents from a year ago.

The national average price of diesel has fallen 2.6 cents in the last week to stand at $4.06 per gallon — 33 cents lower than one year ago.

“Motorists have finally seen a bit of a break in the recent rise in the national average, with more states seeing drops than increases in the last week. While the pause has certainly been nice, this is more like a rain delay than it is a 7th-inning stretch,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “It’s likely only a matter of time before we see the rise re-engage and prices start to head higher, but we’ll take any break that we can.

“Oil prices showed some signs of struggling last week after coming within arm’s reach of $80 per barrel before falling closer to $76, but all eyes are on refiners as utilization remained seasonally weak, around 80% of capacity, meaning there’s less gasoline and diesel being produced. That’s why it’s just a matter of time before prices collide with rising demand and start to accelerate again.”

On Monday, AAA reported the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline at $3.26 per gallon, down 1 cent from a week ago. Wyoming’s average is $2.89, up 7 cents from a week ago. Campbell County’s average of $2.68 is now the third cheapest in the state, according to AAA. The cheapest is $2.59 in Weston County.

(AAA graphic)

The only fuel price report in Campbell County on Monday was $2.57 at M.G. Oil Co., 502 El Camino Road, according to GasBuddy.

Also included in GasBuddy’s report Monday:

OIL PRICES
After reaching just below $80 per barrel last week, WTI futures have struggled to find traction, falling 42 cents in early Monday trade to $76.07 per barrel, off some $3 from last Monday’s $79.24 start. Brent crude oil was also in the red Monday morning, off 43 cents to $81.19 per barrel, off from $83.43 last Monday. With inflation remaining stubborn, demand outlooks have dimmed slightly, with the U.S. Federal Reserve likely to take time to lower rates, keeping economic growth, and thus oil demand growth, in check. 2024 began with investors looking for cuts to start in March, but with additional data since the start of the year, even June shows just 50% chance of Fed rate cuts starting. On the flip side, the U.K. joined the U.S. in launching more strikes against the Houthis in Yemen over the weekend, which remains a potential area of interest for oil markets.

OIL AND REFINED PRODUCTS
Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a 3.5 million barrel jump in U.S. oil inventories, which remain below the five-year average, while the SPR tacked on another 700,000 barrels to 359.5 million barrels, 3.2% below its year-ago level. Gasoline inventories fell a modest 300,000 barrels, while distillate inventories fell a more significant 4 million barrels. Implied gasoline demand, a proxy for retail demand, rose a meager 32,000 bpd to 8.20 million barrels, notably under GasBuddy’s modeled demand prediction, which also edged higher again for the week ending Saturday. Refinery utilization was unchanged at just 80.6% of capacity, indicating both outages and maintenance having impacts on gasoline and fuel production.

FUEL DEMAND
According to GasBuddy demand data driven by its Pay with GasBuddy™ fuel card, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 2.2% for the week ending February 25 (Sun-Sat). Broken down by PADD region, demand rose 3.6% in PADD 1, rose 0.3% in PADD 2, rose 6.9% in PADD 3, rose 1.8% in PADD 4, and fell 3.1% in PADD 5. GasBuddy models U.S. gasoline demand at 8.572 million barrels per day.

GAS PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $2.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.09, $3.19, $3.29, and $2.89 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. gas price is $3.13 per gallon, down 4 cents from last week and about 11 cents lower than the national average.
The top 10% of stations in the country average $4.40 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $2.70 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average prices: Texas ($2.80), Oklahoma ($2.80), Mississippi ($2.82).
The states with the highest average prices: Hawaii ($4.69), California ($4.61), and Washington ($3.96).

DIESEL PRICE TRENDS
The most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week, followed by $3.89, $4.09, $3.79, and $3.69 rounding out the top five most common prices.
The median U.S. diesel price is $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week and about 7 cents lower than the national average for diesel.
Diesel prices at the top 10% of stations in the country average $5.05 per gallon, while the bottom 10% average $3.51 per gallon.
The states with the lowest average diesel prices: Oklahoma ($3.58), Mississippi ($3.66), and Kansas ($3.69).
The states with the highest average diesel prices: Hawaii ($5.63), California ($5.37), and Washington ($4.61). GasBuddy

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