According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), across the US retail prices of regular grade gasoline reached the lowest levels in four years primarily as a result of falling crude prices in the second half of 2014. As of 12 December, the weekly retail price for regular gasoline in each city for which the EIA collects data was below US$3.00/gal. for the first time since February 2010. Each city recorded its lowest 2014 gasoline price on the last Monday of the year.
Each Monday, EIA collects and publishes data on retail gasoline and diesel fuel prices for multiple locations across the country. Retail gasoline prices are published for ten cities, none states, five regions, and the US as a whole. Gasoline prices across the country reflect differences in gasoline quality, taxes, and the characteristics of regional market supply and demand balances.
East Coast (Boston, New York, and Miami)
In New York and Boston, regular retail gasoline prices reached yearly highs during the summer driving season in late June and early July, respectively. Gasoline prices in Miami peaked earlier in the year during April, which is typical for that city. Average prices along the East Coast moved within a range between US$2.44/gal. and US$3.71/gal. over the course of the year.
Midwest (Chicago and Cleveland)
Retail gasoline prices in the Midwest peaked at US$3.71/gal. in mid-June and fell to a low of US$2.09/gal. on 29 December. The Midwest covers a large geographic area consisting of multiple semi-connected markets. Prices in Chicago were slightly above and prices in Cleveland were slightly below the regional average in all weeks during 2014.
Gulf Coast (Houston)
Gulf Coast retail gasoline prices tend to be the lowest in the country. The region is home to half of the US refining capacity and produces substantially more gasoline than it consumes. Gasoline taxes in the region are among the lowest in the country. In all weeks of 2014, retail gasoline prices in Houston were the lowest of the ten cities for which EIA collects data. Houston prices ranged from a high of US$3.47/gal. in late April to a low of US$2.13/gal. on 29 December.
Rocky Mountains (Denver)
Denver retail gasoline prices were the second lowest in the country for 19 weeks of 2014 and third lowest for an additional 17 weeks. As was the case in the Gulf Coast, for much of the year, Rocky Mountain refineries operated at high utilisation rates to produce diesel fuel, which also resulted in additional gasoline supplies. At US$2.19/gal. as of 29 December, Denver gasoline prices were at their lowest level since 12 May, 2009.
West Coast (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle)
Gasoline prices on the West Coast tend to be higher than in other parts of the country because of stricter fuel specifications in California, the region’s isolation from other markets, and higher taxes. Prices on the West Coast were the last prices in the US to drop below US$3.00/gal. Since 23 June, prices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have been the highest retail gasoline prices of the ten cities for which EIA collects data. During 2014, retail gasoline prices in California moved within wider ranges than prices in Washington. The spreads between low and high prices in San Francisco and Los Angeles were US$1.52/gal. and US$1.62/gal., respectively, compared to a spread of US$1.37/gal. in Seattle.
Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.
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