Regional Price Volatility Drags U.S. Average Higher
The price of a gallon of gasoline went down for most drivers during the past week, but regional increases across the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states dragged the national average gas price higher during the past week. Even so, that increase was less than a penny per gallon, as the national average price performed a technical rise from $2.45 to $2.46. The week on week price changes are detailed in the regular weekly update from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Volatility spikes in prices across the Midwest resulted in prices jumping nearly 11¢ in that region, as gas stations from Chicago to Cleveland reflected overland shipping costs, which had been higher in recent weeks due to winter weather events. For drivers in Ohio, prices surged over 14¢ per gallon as the Buckeye State, again, bore the brunt of Midwest price changes.
Regional upward pricing volatility did not extend to the Rocky Mountain states, although prices did push higher during the past week by about 2¢. Curiously, however, prices in Denver, Colorado, declined by about that same amount during the past week, perhaps suppressing a broader regional price hike.
For Most, Gas Prices Are Cheaper This Week
For most Americans, regional gas prices went down between 3¢ and 7¢ per gallon, with steeper price declines in some states cities. Along the U.S. West Coast, which endured shocking price hikes during February, prices went down in some cities by as much as 12¢, notably Los Angeles. Those declines, often tied to California, extended as far north as Seattle, although prices in the Emerald City only declined about 8¢ per gallon.
Prices were also down significantly across the East Coast survey districts, particularly New England, which brought the broader East Coast index down by an average of 4¢, although prices in the Lower Atlantic states, which includes populous Florida, only declined about 3¢.
Year On Year, Gasoline Is Less Costly
Overall, however, year on year prices are still significantly lower than the early Spring driving period in 2014. Average prices are down well over $1.00 per gallon, and by as much as $1.35 in some states. And while crude oil has been highly volatile in recent weeks, the broad consensus among energy sector financial analysts, is that periodic price disruptions due to regional conflicts are not likely to pressure crude oil prices to move higher. Instead, global supply remains very high, due in large part to U.S. crude oil production, which continues to put downward pressure on domestic and overseas contracts.