Highest October gasoline demand since 2006
November 6, 2017
• Prices see a slight uptick in national average
• California’s new taxes push Golden State prices to highest in nation
The latest gasoline demand measurement is the highest for the end of October since 2006 -- before the Great Recession, according to the Energy Information Administration.
At $2.53, Monday’s national gas price average is six cents more than a week ago, two cents more than a month ago and 31 cents more than a year ago.
In California, Monday’s average price is $3.208 -- more than 17 cents higher than a week ago, the AAA says.
“October has seen strong demand numbers likely, in part, due to consumers taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather rather than spending time indoors,” says Jeanette Casselano, an AAA spokeswoman. “As consumers fill up their tanks more frequently, we are seeing supply levels tighten and gas prices increase. However, we don’t expect this increase to be long-term.”
The national gas price average during the second half of October was relatively stable, fluctuating a penny or two until October 31. Since then, the national price has seen upward movement, primarily resulting from increased demand.
Moving into the week, the West Coast continues to lead the U.S. among most expensive markets. Six of the top ten most expensive markets in the country are found in this region: California ($3.21), Hawaii ($3.17), Alaska ($3.09), Washington ($2.94), Oregon ($2.79) and Nevada ($2.73). Most prices in the region have seen growth over the past week, with California (+17 cents) and Alaska (+5 cents) seeing the largest increases of markets in the region.
Drivers in California are likely to see pump prices increase due to new gasoline taxes that were imposed on November 1. The tax rate for gasoline increased 12 cents per gallon, from 29.7 cents to 41.7 cents per gallon.
In the EIA’s latest report, total gasoline stocks are below 28 million barrels, reaching a seven-week low at 27.6 million barrels . Additionally, EIA’s report showed that the refinery utilization rate of crude fell to 81.4 percent from 81.9 percent last week, which means less gasoline is being produced. With demand remaining high and supplies tightening in the region, prices are also being pushed up by these supply and demand factors.