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AAA: Spring Gas Prices March Higher

The national average for a gallon of gas rose 11 cents since March 14 to $3.52. While domestic gas demand has been lackluster, rising oil prices helped push pump prices higher. The Midwest may see a bit of a price reprieve, as the large BP Whiting refinery in Indiana is back up and running after being down since February 1.

“Gas prices are a lot like seasonal temperatures. They start to rise with the arrival of spring,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “And the national average for gas is now higher than a year ago, which we have not seen since late December.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand decreased slightly from 9.04 to 8.81 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks dropped by 3.3 million bbl to 230.8 million bbl. Lower demand would typically contribute to pushing pump prices lower or slowing increases, but rising oil prices have pushed them higher instead.

Thursday’s national average of $3.52 is 25 cents more than a month ago and nine cents more than a year ago.

Quick Stats

    • Since March 14, these 10 states have seen the largest increases in their averages: Illinois (+21 cents), Indiana (+21 cents), Ohio (+18 cents), Maryland (+17 cents), Minnesota (+16 cents), Kentucky (+16 cents), Alaska (+16 cents), Wisconsin (+16 cents), Nebraska (+16 cents) and Oregon (+16 cents).
    • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($4.95), Hawaii ($4.69), Washington ($4.37), Nevada ($4.26), Oregon ($4.14), Alaska ($3.92), Illinois ($3.91), Arizona ($3.73), Washington, D.C. ($3.63) and Michigan ($3.60).

Oil Market Dynamics

At the close of Wednesday, March 20’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by $1.79 to settle at $81.68. Oil prices fell after the US Federal Reserve announced it was leaving interest rates unchanged, but it expects three rate cuts by the end of 2024. Additionally, the EIA reported that total domestic commercial crude stocks decreased by 2 million bbl to 445 million bbl last week.

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