Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.47 per gallon. This is a penny less expensive than one week ago and 16 cents less than one month ago, but it remains nine cents higher than the same day last year. The national average has now fallen for 24 of 26 days and is 31 cents lower than the peak price this year of $3.79 on February 27.
Over the busy Independence Day travel weekend drivers across the country enjoyed some welcome relief at the pump. Motorists in every state except Wyoming are paying less today than two weeks ago. Thirteen states have an average that is at least a dime less and three states (Ind., N.D. and Ill.) have seen prices fall at least 20 cents during this span. These declines in retail prices have largely been the product of regional supply disruptions being resolved. Prices paid by impacted motorists have retreated from lofty highs as refineries have come back online and production has returned to normal levels. These declines have been most dramatic in the Midwest where prices in five states are at least 50 cents less than a month ago: Ill. (-51 cents), Wisc. (-56 cents), Ohio (-57 cents), Mich. (-71 cents) and Ind. (-74 cents).
Retail gasoline prices have continued to inch lower in recent weeks, however rising crude oil prices could mean the national average price at the pump is near its summer-low. In 2011 the national average reached a seasonal-low of $3.54 per gallon on June 30. In 2012 it bottomed at $3.33 on July 2.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil traded in a relatively narrow range of $93-99 per barrel during the month of June. Prices began last week within this same range but quickly moved higher on escalating protests in Egypt and positive economic news as the holiday-shortened week progressed. On Wednesday oil prices settled above $100 per barrel for the first time since May 3, 2012. As was the case in 2011 when then-President Hosni Mubarak stepped down following violent demonstrations, unrest in Egypt raises concerns of potential disruptions at the Suez Canal – a major shipping route for oil – and the possibility that unrest might spread to other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.