Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional start of the US summer driving season. Leading up to it this year, the national average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline is US$ 3.67, the same as this time last year. Following an increase of 42 cents/gal. since early February to US$ 3.71 /gal. late last month, gasoline prices have fallen modestly in recent weeks as increasing refinery crude oil throughput and higher imports have added supplies to the market.
Oil and gasoline pricing
The price of retail gasoline reflects the price of crude oil and the wholesale gasoline crack spread. The price of North Sea Brent crude has averaged US$ 109 /bbl so far this month, US$ 6 /bbl more than in May last year. Yet, lower gasoline crack spreads compared with last year have offset higher crude prices. Lower wholesale gasoline crack spreads are largely the result of higher crude oil throughputs at refineries, which have added supply to the market. For the four weeks ending on 16 May 2014, crude oil inputs into US refineries totalled 15.9 million bpd which is 0.8 million bpd higher than the previous year.
Retail gasoline prices vary regionally and are based on differences in regional supply and demand dynamics, fuel specs, and state and local tax levels. At the moment, retail prices are highest in California where they averaged US$ 4.16/gal. on 19 May. Prices in California are often high compared to the national average, reflecting stringent gasoline specs. Averages prices are lower on the US Gulf Coast, where on 19th May they were at US$ 3.44/gal. Prices on the Gulf Coast are often relatively low compared to other locations because it is home to half of US refining capacity, but a much smaller share of demand.
Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd
Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/gas-processing/23052014/us_memorial_holiday_gasoline_prices/