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US gasoline prices above last year

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) latest weekly survey, the average retail price of regular gasoline was US$ 3.65/gal on 29th July, 15 cents/gal higher than a year ago.

However, the average regular retail gasoline price for all of 2013 remains approximately 5 cents/gal (1%) lower than the average price over the same period last year.

Prices varied greatly by regional market.

Key regional trends include:

East Coast (PADD 1)

Average gasoline prices were down 7 cents/gal during the first two quarters of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. However, from 29th July, they were 15 cents greater than a year ago. Despite this, 2013 average prices through July were 5 cents below the same period a year ago.

Midwest (PADD 2)

29th July, 2013 prices were 6 cents above 2012 values, but average year to date gasoline prices through 29th July were the same as in 2012.

Planned and unplanned refinery maintenance and upgrading projects reduced gasoline production in the Midwest, drawing down gasoline inventories and pushing gasoline prices higher.

Daily average retail prices have fluctuated greatly over 2013. Fluctuations were even more pronounced in state level figures. Several states in particular reflected big gasoline price ranges including Minnesota, North Dakota, and Michigan.

Gulf Coast (PADD 3)

US Gulf Coast year to date gasoline price figures are 6 cents/gal below their 2012 level.

Primarily reflected in this figure is lower prices for the Light Louisiana Sweet (LLS) crude oil.

However, from 15th July, PADD 3 gasoline prices have risen 15 cents from the previous week, up to 24 cents/gal in comparison to 2012 values. By 29th July, prices rose to average US$ 3.48/gal, 17 cents above the same week in 2012.

Despite the recent price increases, gasoline prices in PADD 3 have been relatively stable in 2013. This price stability prevailed despite higher growth in gasoline demand than in other regions.

Rocky Mountains (PADD 4)

Gasoline prices for the first two quarters of 2013 have fluctuated greatly due to the low price at the beginning of the year and the spillover effects of PADD 2 refinery maintenance.

As of 29th July, PADD 4 gasoline prices were 17 cents/gal higher than a year ago, but the year to date 2013 average price remains 42 cents below the same period of 2012.

West Coast (PADD 5)

As of 29th July, West Coast retail gasoline prices were 22 cents/gal higher than those at the same time in 2012, but they were on average lower year to date compared to 2012, the largest decline of any region.

Refinery maintenance caused several sharp increases in wholesale gasoline prices in PADD 5 during the first two quarters of 2013, but only one increase beginning in January significantly affected retail prices.

Due to a combination of stringent environmental requirements and taxes, West Coast gasoline prices are generally the highest in the Lower 48 states.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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