Gas prices drop unexpectedly ahead of Memorial Day
Gasoline pump prices have fallen from a 19-month high last week, in a rarely seen price drop ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. The national average price Monday morning was $2.354, down more than four cents a gallon, but up more than three cents compared with a month ago and up 13.5 cents year over year.
The primary reason for the drop is refinery output. Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude oil inventories had dropped by 3.4 million barrels. Offsetting that drop were gains of 3.4 million barrels and 2.7 million barrels in gasoline and distillate stockpiles, respectively.
GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst, Patrick DeHaan, noted:
Gasoline prices appear to be taking a breather this week as refinery output, following spring maintenance, appears to be outstripping expected motorist demand. It’s unusual to see gas prices drop as the official kick-off to the summer driving season is just a few weeks away. Memorial Day weekend starts the peak gasoline consumption season across the United States.
Among the few states where prices rose were Montana (11.1 cents per gallon), Wyoming (6.2 cents) and South Dakota (3.2 cents).
Only two states showed an average below $2.10 a gallon Monday morning. The five states with the lowest prices are Oklahoma ($2.072 a gallon), South Carolina ($2.076), Mississippi ($2.127), Tennessee ($2.127) and Arkansas ($2.151). States posting the highest prices are Hawaii ($3.032 a gallon), California ($2.983), Washington ($2.877), Oregon $2.758) and Alaska ($2.749).