Average retail gasoline prices in Kansas have fallen 4.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.58 per gallon last Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,329 gas outlets in Kansas. This compares with the national average that has fallen 2.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.61 according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
As of Friday, the state average was $3.51. Salina reported the lowest prices Kansas at $3.28 with the highest being at Wakeeney at $3.83.
Locally, prices fell somewhere in between at $3.48 in Great Bend and Larned, and $3.49 at Lyons. In other communities of interest, Russell came in at $3.69, Hays at $3.46, Hutchinson at $3.54 and Wichita at $3.41-3.46.
Including the change in gas prices in Kansas during the past week, prices yesterday were 16.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 31.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 5.0 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 8.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
“The national average has continued its downward decline in the last week, likely being helped by relief in the Great Lakes, a region that had been plagued with refining issues that have seemingly been resolved,” said GasBuddy.com senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. “While the national average stands higher than it did a year ago, we likely will see the average decline, and for motorists in the Great Lakes, the downward trend should mean well needed relief at the pump. Areas of California may see prices rising slightly in the days ahead, but at this time we aren’t seeing any short term price spikes across the United States.”
According to the American Automobile Association, last week saw the national average moving higher as a result of sharp increases in retail prices for a handful of Great Lakes states. The near record high prices in these states were because of continued low supplies and transportation challenges for wholesale gasoline in the Chicago market, particularly due to maintenance at the ExxonMobil refinery in Joliet, Ill. and the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind.
Confirmation that the Joliet refinery was back online and talk throughout the week that the Whiting refinery would soon return to normal production levels meant imminent price relief for these states was likely, the AAA noted. This prediction held true as these same states have seen prices more than reverse course over the last week. Motorists in 26 states are paying more than one week ago, but none of these increases has been more than six cents. This compares to ten states where prices have fallen at least six cents during the same period, led by declines of fifteen cents or more in four Great Lakes states.
National gasoline markets in recent months have been driven by regional supply and production issues rather than by the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, which has traded in a narrow $5 range. At the same time regional gasoline production and distribution concerns have eased and retail prices have inched lower, market-watchers have turned a wary eye to escalating geopolitical tensions in Syria.
While Syria is not a major oil producing nation, there is the risk that fighting might spread to other countries in the region, and this has kept some upward pressure on crude oil prices.