According to AAA, a drop in gasoline demand and falling oil prices may combine to take the air out of rising pump prices soon. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose less than a nickel since last week to hit $3.68.
“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 last 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 last 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.
Today’s national average of $3.68 is 24 cents more than a month ago but 43 cents less than a year ago.