TOPEKA, Kan. – Nov. 12, 2018 – Kansas tied for the fourth largest gas price decrease in the nation this week, with the average per-gallon price falling nine cents to $2.47. This is good news for motorists with the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel week approaching.
After experiencing gas prices 15 to 30 percent higher than last year throughout much of 2018, pump prices are now in the single digit percentages higher than 2017. For example, a year ago, the average Kansas gas price was $2.41, just two percent less than the current price. This week in Lawrence, the price is actually two percent less than a year ago at this time.
“Just in time for Thanksgiving holiday road trips, motorists have a lot to be thankful for at the fuel pumps,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward. “This trend of lower gas prices has been ongoing for a month or so, and it is very welcome to the many Kansans who will be hitting the road to visit friends and family next week.”
Steward noted that Kansas currently has the 12th cheapest gas prices in America. Wichita, at $2.35/gallon, checked in with the 26th lowest gas prices among metro areas nationwide this week.
Of the 10 Kansas cities regularly highlighted by AAA Kansas (see chart below), all saw significant price declines this week. Lawrence (-14 cents), Pittsburg (-12), Saina (-12) and Wichita (-12) experienced the biggest price drops.
According to AAA Kansas, this week’s Kansas gas price extremes are:
HIGH: Elkhart (Morton County) – $3.00
LOW: Maize (Sedgwick County) – $2.23
State gas price averages are as much as 12-cents to a nickel cheaper a gallon on the week in more than two-thirds of the country. As demand drops and the end of refinery maintenance season wraps-up, the national gas price average is $2.70. That price is six cents less than last Monday, 21-cents less than last month and just 14-cents more than last year. In fact, the year-over-year price differential has not been this small since early January.
“Prices could plunge even lower, especially if we see a surge in gasoline production after refiners fully restart units from the fall maintenance season,” said AAA Kansas’ Steward. “Also driving down pump prices is the fact that crude oil is selling under $65/bbl, a rare sight this year.”
Today, 41 percent of gas stations nationwide are selling unleaded gasoline for $2.50 or less. In comparison, the majority of gas stations were selling gas for $2.51 or more at the start of summer during the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Today’s national gas price extremes:
High: Hawaii – $3.91
Low: Delaware – $2.35
Gas Price Trends in Select Kansas Cities
Change Over Last Year
Bordering states and rank in lowest gas prices around the country
Great Lakes and Central States Trends
Gas prices in eight Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 list of states with the biggest changes, a handful with double-digit drops: Ohio (-12 cents), Michigan (-11 cents), Nebraska (-10 cents), Iowa (-10 cents), Indiana (-9 cents), Kansas (-9 cents), Missouri (-9 cents) and Kentucky (-9 cents). Gas prices are, at a minimum, a nickel cheaper in every state in the region on the week.
Only six states in the country have cheaper gas prices today as compared to a year ago. Five are Great Lakes and Central states: Illinois ($2.68), Michigan ($2.60), Indiana ($2.52), Iowa ($2.53) and Ohio ($2.40). With gas prices just pennies more than last year, these three states also might see the same trend soon: Missouri ($2.37), Nebraska ($2.58) and Wisconsin ($2.61).
The region saw a small draw of 856,000 bbl on the week, tightening gasoline stocks to a new low for the year. The last time the region saw stocks register at the 46 million bbl mark was during October 2017, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. As refineries wrap-up maintenance season it is likely stocks will increase and drive prices potentially even cheaper amid declining demand.
Oil market dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI decreased 48 cents to settle at $60.19. Oil prices drifted lower this week, following the release of EIA’s report that total domestic oil inventories grew by 5.8 million bbl last week. They now sit at 431.8 million bbl, which is 25.3 million bbl less than inventories last year at this time. Crude inventories have grown for seven consecutive weeks because of reduced refinery runs while the nation settles into the lower demand fall driving season. A new all-time high estimate in domestic crude production since EIA began publishing the data – 11.6 million b/d – also contributed to last week’s build in crude inventories. Moving into this week, crude prices may drop further if supply concerns remain reduced due to continued growth in inventories.
AAA Mobile App
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile