National Gas Price Average Rises 20 Cents in Past Two Weeks

The $4.32-per-gallon average is just one penny short of the record set on March 11.
A gas pump

NATIONAL REPORT — Gasoline prices have spiked in recent weeks and are approaching the record level set on March 11.

In the past two weeks, the national average for a gallon of gasoline has risen 20 cents to $4.32, a penny less than the record high set in March. The increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near $100 a barrel last week and is now closing in on $110, reported AAA.

The $4.32 national average for a gallon of gas on May 9 is $1.36 more than the same timeframe a year ago.

"With the cost of oil accounting for more than half of the pump price, more expensive oil means more expensive gasoline," said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. "These prices are creeping closer to those record high levels of early March."

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 2.2 million barrels to 228.6 million barrels last week. However, gasoline demand increased slightly from 8.74 million barrels per day to 8.86 million per day. Increasing gas demand and rising oil prices have pushed pump prices higher.

Gas price relief is not expected soon. Pump prices will likely face upward pressure as oil prices remain above $105 per barrel, maintained AAA.

The nation's top 10 largest weekly increases per gallon during the past week were seen in Michigan (26 cents), New Jersey (25 cents), Connecticut (19 cents), Kentucky (19 cents), Indiana (19 cents), Rhode Island (19 cents), Illinois (18 cents), Washington, D.C. (18 cents), Alabama (18 cents), and Tennessee (18 cents).

The nation's top 10 most expensive markets are California ($5.82), Hawaii ($5.28), Nevada ($5.11), Washington ($4.83), Oregon ($4.81), Alaska ($4.73), Washington, D.C. ($4.69), Arizona ($4.66), Illinois ($4.59), and New York ($4.51).

At the close of the formal trading session on May 6, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.51 per barrel to settle at $109.77. Crude prices rose last week after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports within six months, while refined product imports would be prohibited by the end of 2022, according to AAA.

The price increases occurred despite continuing COVID lockdowns in China weighing down crude demand and EIA reporting that total domestic crude inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels to 415.7 million barrels, which is approximately 14 percent lower than the storage level at the end of April 2021.

As Convenience Store News reported, gas prices reached a record national average of $4.33 per gallon on March 11. State and federal governments have since taken measures to attempt to alleviate the pain for drivers, including Maryland and Michigan instituting gas tax holidays.

On a national basis, President Biden announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would issue a national, emergency waiver allowing the sale of E15 gasoline this summer.

E15, a blend containing 15-percent ethanol, is currently offered at 2,300 gas stations across the United States. At current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average, and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount, the White House wrote in a statement on April 12.