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Gas Prices Trend Upward Ahead of Spring Break

Drivers saw gas prices creep up the final week of February. The national average for a gallon of gas was $3.31 on leap day, 4 cents higher than it was a week prior. The upward trend is likely to continue as travelers start heading out of town for Spring Break.

“We’re entering Spring Break season, and historically, March and April bring higher gas prices as demand rises,” said Aixa Diaz, AAA spokesperson. “With milder temperatures come more road trips, and this time of year tends to be a precursor to the summer driving season.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased from 8.2 to 8.47 million b/d last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks declined by 2.8 million bbl to 244.2 million bbl. Growing demand amid tighter supply has contributed to the increase in pump prices.

Thursday’s national average of $3.31 was 21 cents higher than a month ago and 4 cents less than a year ago, when the national average was $3.35.

Quick Stats:

  • Since Feb. 22, these 10 states have seen the largest changes in their averages: Oregon (+22 cents), Wisconsin (+17 cents), Washington (+16 cents), Michigan (+14 cents), Illinois (+13 cents), Indiana (+13 cents), Minnesota (+11 cents), California (+11 cents), Ohio (−11 cents) and Idaho (+10 cents).
  • The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($4.74), Hawaii ($4.70), Washington ($4.08), Nevada ($3.98), Oregon ($3.82), Illinois ($3.64), Alaska ($3.55), Pennsylvania ($3.49), Washington, DC ($3.42) and Arizona ($3.41).

Oil Market Dynamics:

At the close of Wednesday, Feb. 28’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 33 cents to settle at $78.54. Oil prices fell after the EIA’s weekly report showed that total domestic commercial crude stocks increased by 4.2 million bbl to 447.2 million bbl. The supply increase could signal that crude demand is loosening, contributing to a reduction in oil prices.

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