The Kansas gas price average has seen little movement recently, holding steady at $2.17, the American Automobile Association reported this week. Locally, the Great Bend Price has held a tick above that average at $2.19 for several weeks as well.
The change over last year’s prices is beginning to narrow some though prices this time last year were still significantly lower than today, the AAA reported. This week’s average in Kansas is nearly the same as it was on this date in 2015. In 2014 the average was $1.10 higher at $3.27 on Feb. 22.
The high/low in Kansas Friday was Coffeyville and Benton and McPherson at $1.94 and $2.49 respectively, according to kansagasprices.com.
National gas prices have increased fractions of a penny to reach today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline, which is $2.29 per gallon. This week’s average is near the same as one week ago, three cents less compared to one month ago and 58 cents more than the same date last year. Prices continue to remain flat due to lower driving demand and an oversupplied market as a result of increased U.S. production. As refinery maintenance season begins and driving demand increases, we could expect to see some of the gasoline supply in the U.S. soaked up.
For the second week in a row, U.S. average gas prices have remained steady at 2.28 cents a gallon according to GasBuddy.com.
Even as oil prices continue their seemingly confused sideways price pattern, weaker domestic gasoline demand and refiners moving to liquidate winter gasoline inventories in advance of their gradual switch over to summer blends sets the stage for higher prices in the weeks ahead, said gasbuddy analyst Dan McTeague.
A pattern of increasing gasoline stock builds continues on both weaker weather-related demand and stronger-than-expected regional refinery output, although signals from the Northeast and Midwest show supply has now begun to trend downwards. Despite the surge of nearly 10 percent in gasoline stockpiles since the end of 2016 to 259 million barrels, refinery pre-maintenance ramps up and short term fuel demand explains the build.
“The uneven supply picture means that compared to last week, 18 states saw marginal decreases with Michigan (-6.8), Ohio (-6.4) and Kentucky (-5.7) seeing drops of 6-7 cents a gallon,” McTeague said. At the other end of the spectrum, 31 states saw increases of about two cents a gallon with Indiana managing a six-cent increase followed by Wyoming (+4.1), Colorado (+3.9), Delaware (+3.8), California (+2.8) and Hawaii (+2.8).
The balance of states that saw increases, estimated to be about 60 percent, saw only an average of one cent a gallon, with two states, North Dakota and West Virginia seeing no change at all.
The nation’s cheapest gasoline is again found in South Carolina where gas prices average $2.027 a gallon, followed by Alabama ($2.053), Tennessee ($2.058), Oklahoma ($2.063) and Texas ($2.068). Cheapest cities to buy that gas are also found in South Carolina where one can still buy gasoline for $ 1.89 cents a gallon in Edgefield County.
Conversely, the nation’s most expensive states remain Hawaii at $3.114 followed by California at $2.903 a gallon on average, then Washington ($2.734), Nevada and Oregon at $2.531 each.
McTeague said oil prices continue to trade lightly remaining in the $53 a barrel range due in large part to lingering doubts over OPEC’s inability to dent the vast global oversupply of crude and reports that several nations continue to increase output, including Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Iran. Indeed, the growing number of rig counts in both Canada and the US which rose respectively by 2 and 6 bringing total US rigs in operation to 597 while Canadian rigs now stand at 116.