Weather May Decide Direction of Gas Prices


The national average for a gallon of gas staggered five cents higher over the week leading to Aug. 17, despite lower demand and the price of oil falling several dollars per barrel and struggling to stay above $80. 

But the potential for hurricane development and forecasts of an expanding heat dome over Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas in the coming week could push oil prices higher. Refineries in these states may have to curb production to deal with the sizzling temperatures.

“The heat is returning, and we are also entering the heart of hurricane season,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “While fewer drivers are fueling up at the moment, these looming weather concerns are a roadblock to falling pump prices. Gas prices may keep waffling until mid-September or longer.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand slid from 9.30 to 8.85 million b/d over the same week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks slightly decreased from 216.4 to 216.2 million bbl. Although demand has fallen, fluctuating oil prices have kept pump prices elevated.

The Aug. 17 national average of $3.87 is 31 cents more than a month ago but seven cents less than a year ago.

Since Aug. 10, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Arizona (+20 cents), Indiana (+17 cents), Michigan (+16 cents), Utah (+14 cents), Illinois (+12 cents), West Virginia (+9 cents), Wisconsin (+9 cents), California (+9 cents), New Mexico (+9 cents) and Kansas (+8 cents).

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($5.18), Washington ($5.03), Hawaii ($4.79), Oregon ($4.69), Alaska ($4.49), Nevada ($4.42), Utah ($4.23), Arizona ($4.19), Illinois ($4.17) and Idaho ($4.10).

Source: AAA

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