Will Drivers Catch a Break at the Pump Soon?

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A drop in gasoline demand and falling oil prices may combine to take the air out of rising pump prices. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose less than a nickel since April 13 to hit $3.68 as of April 20.

“The recent surge in oil costs took a break this week, with the price of oil tumbling back into the upper $70s per barrel,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “If this oil price trend continues, drivers may see falling gas prices.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand decreased from 8.94 to 8.52 million b/d over the same week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks increased slightly by 1.3 million bbl to 223.5 million bbl. Lower demand, alongside growth in stocks, would typically push pump prices down; however, elevated oil prices over the past month pushed them higher.

Meanwhile, U.S. refineries are returning to service from extensive winter/spring maintenance. The EIA said total input rose over the week by 330,000 b/d to 16.44 million b/d, putting it above this time last year. More refinery operations will be restarted in the next three weeks, with some planned work extending into June.

The April 20 national average of $3.68 is 24 cents more than a month ago but 43 cents less than a year ago.

Since April 13, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Arizona (+16 cents), Florida (+14 cents), Washington (+13 cents), Montana (+12 cents), New Hampshire (+11 cents), Kansas (+11 cents), Connecticut (+11 cents), Rhode Island (+10 cents), North Dakota (+10 cents) and Massachusetts (+10 cents).

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($4.90), Hawaii ($4.78), Arizona ($4.68), Washington ($4.56), Nevada ($4.28), Illinois ($4.09), Oregon ($4.07), Alaska ($3.93), Pennsylvania ($3.77) and Washington, D.C. ($3.74).

Source: AAA

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