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Gas prices inch upwards
Even as spring travel season nears, prices will be lower than in the past
new deh gas price graphic

 If the past three days are any indication, the gas price downward fall has now bounced in the other direction, AAA reported this week. The Kansas average was at $1.49 per gallon on Monday and on Tuesday, it rose to $1.52 and Wednesday, it was $1.57. However, Kansans are still enjoying a 26 percent average savings over this time last year.

In Great Bend, the price ranged from $1.45 to $1.57 on Thursday, according to The state low was at Wichita at $1.29 and the high was in Scammon at $2.31.

Kansas is also moving down the ranks of the least expensive gas average. From third on Monday to 10th Thursday. Missouri is also no longer in the number one spot as they fall to number 5. 

The national average Thursday was $1.75. This average continues to hover at levels not seen since the Great Recession, largely due to abundant supplies and low crude oil costs. 

Today’s average price of $1.71 per gallon is the lowest price for this date since 2004, and pump prices have fallen for 41 of the past 47 days for a total savings of 29 cents per gallon. Consumers are paying one cent more per gallon to refuel their vehicles on the week, though average prices are down by 13 cents per gallon on the month and 58 cents per gallon on the year.

Gas prices are likely move higher as we head into the spring refinery maintenance season, an AAA report noted. However prices should remain lower than recent years.

Refineries conducting maintenance will produce less fuel, though ample gasoline supply and lower-than-expected prices for crude oil should limit any seasonal price spikes. 

Some regional markets are beginning to reflect the effects of refinery production cuts, and prices have climbed in the Midwest on the week as a result.

Consumers in the vast majority of states (45) are paying retail averages below $2 per gallon. Missouri ($1.46) and Oklahoma ($1.46) are the nation’s least expensive markets, and pump prices are below $1.75 per gallon in a total of 36 states.

On the other end of the spectrum, motorists in the West are paying some of the nation’s highest averages led by Hawaii ($2.57) and California ($2.32). Regional neighbors Alaska ($2.22), Washington ($2.02) and Nevada ($2) round out the top five most expensive markets for gasoline.

Weekly comparisons show that gas prices are moving in different directions in various parts of the country. Pump prices are down in 30 states and Washington, D.C., on the week with the largest savings west of the Rockies: Arizona (-9 cents), California (-9 cents) and Nevada (-9 cents). Opposite this trend, drivers in 20 states are paying more week-over-week. 

Averages are up more than a nickel per gallon in 11 states and motorists in six states saw prices increase by double digits. The largest jumps in price were in Minnesota (+18 cents), Michigan (+15 cents) and Indiana (+14 cents). Averages in the Midwest could continue to climb higher as refineries in the region continue to reduce production due to ample supplies and low prices.

Retail averages are down in every state and Washington, D.C., year-over-year. With the exception of Idaho (-9 cents) and Utah (-20 cents), drivers nationwide are experiencing savings of more than a quarter per gallon at the pump on the year. Averages in the majority of states (41) are down by 50 cents or more per gallon over this same period, with the largest yearly discounts in price in  Kansas (-70 cents), Kentucky (-69 cents) and Missouri (-69 cents).

The global price for crude oil continues to move based on speculation regarding the market’s future balance between supply and demand,AAA notes. A possible freeze in production, spearheaded by OPEC member Saudi Arabia, grabbed the attention of market watchers for much of last week, but failed to produce any real gains in price, as the likelihood of a deal remains questionable. It also is unlikely that a production freeze near current levels would have any effect on reducing abundant global supplies.