National Gasoline Demand Hits Lowest Level in Nearly Two Years, Pushing Pump Prices Even Cheaper

Average Kansas gas price now $1.93, down 3 cents in past week and 18 cents lower in past month. Wichita, Kansas City, Kan. in Top 50 cheapest metro areas in America.

WICHITA, Kan. – Jan. 7, 2019 – Further falling prices at the gas pumps mean Kansas motorists continue to get good news when they fill up their tanks. At $1.93/gallon, the Sunflower State’s average gas price is now 31 cents lower than the national average and ninth cheapest in America. Kansas’ average gas price, which has fallen steadily for about the past three months, is now 15 percent lower than this time last year.

“Despite the recent busy holiday travel period, gasoline demand has remained low, while supply is still plentiful in the market,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward. “The result is great news for motorists, who get to enjoy the cheap prices at the pumps.”

Steward noted that two Kansas metro areas are among the Top 50 cheapest gas prices in America this week. Wichita, at $1.85/gallon, checked in with the 34th lowest gas prices among larger metro areas. Kansas City, Kan. ($1.88) is 44th lowest.

Of the 10 Kansas cities regularly highlighted by AAA Kansas (see chart below), seven registered average prices under $2/gallon. All except Salina, which rose two cents, experienced price declines in the past week. The largest price drops were seen in Garden City (-8 cents), Hays (-6) and Emporia (-5).

According to AAA Kansas, this week’s Kansas gas price extremes are:
HIGH: Elkhart (Morton County) – $2.50
LOW: Galena (Cherokee County) – $1.72

National Perspective
The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data registers gasoline demand at 8.6 million b/d for the week ending December 28 – the lowest level on record since February 2017. Despite record motor vehicle travel for the holiday, demand was down nearly 900,000 bbl, suggesting that demand this winter could be lower than expected.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.24 and has declined for 12 weeks in a row. The national average is three-cents cheaper on the week, 20-cents cheaper than last month and 25-cents cheaper year-over-year.

“As the global crude market continues to be oversupplied, oil prices are dropping, continuing last week’s trend,” said AAA Kansas’ Steward. “This is good news for motorists filling up at the pump.”

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Missouri ($1.82), Oklahoma ($1.90), Arkansas ($1.91), Texas ($1.91), Alabama ($1.91), South Carolina ($1.91), Mississippi ($1.91), Louisiana ($1.93), Kansas ($1.93), and Ohio ($1.95).

The nation’s top 10 yearly decreases are: Michigan (-55 cents), Illinois (-49 cents), Ohio (-47 cents), Indiana (-47 cents), Iowa (-47 cents), Wisconsin (-46 cents), Nebraska (-41 cents), Missouri (-41 cents), Kentucky (-39 cents), and Delaware (-36 cents).

Today’s national gas price extremes:
High: California – $3.32
Low: Missouri – $1.82

Gas Price Trends in Select Kansas Cities
Today
Last Week
Last Month
Last
Year
Change Over Last Year
National
$2.24
$2.27
$2.44
$2.49
-10%
Kansas
$1.93
$1.96
$2.11
$2.28
-15%
Emporia
$1.90
$1.95
$2.14
$2.27
-16%
Garden City
$2.06
$2.14
$2.31
$2.30
-10%
Hays
$2.02
$2.08
$2.22
$2.27
-11%
KCK
$1.88
$1.90
$2.07
$2.25
-16%
Lawrence
$1.91
$1.94
$1.97
$2.25
-15%
Manhattan
$2.09
$2.11
$2.37
$2.32
-10%
Pittsburg
$1.94
$1.95
$2.15
$2.22
-13%
Salina
$1.89
$1.87
$2.07
$2.25
-16%
Topeka
$1.92
$1.95
$2.14
$2.31
-17%
Wichita
$1.85
$1.88
$1.95
$2.27
-19%
Bordering states and rank in lowest gas prices around the country
State
Current Avg.
Rank Today
Oklahoma
$1.90
2
Missouri
$1.82
1
Kansas
$1.93
9
Colorado
$2.20
28
Nebraska
$2.04
16

Great Lakes and Central States Trends
This week, nine Great Lakes and Central states land on the top 10 list of largest year-over-year difference in gas prices in the country: Michigan (-55 cents), Illinois (-49 cents), Ohio (-47 cents), Indiana (-47 cents), Iowa (-45 cents), Wisconsin (-46 cents), Nebraska (-41 cents) Missouri (-41 cents) and Kentucky (-39 cents).

This week, gas prices in the region range from $2.20 in North Dakota to $1.82 in Missouri.
Gasoline inventories continued to build, adding 1.2 million bbl. This trend is expected to continue into the early half of the year. At 54.2 million bbl, stocks are at a 3.5 million bbl year-over-year surplus.

Oil market dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI increased 87 cents to settle at $47.96. Oil prices were volatile last week, as market observers continue to believe that the global crude market is oversupplied. Moreover, analysts are also wary of the impact a potential economic slowdown in 2019 could have on global crude oil demand. In the coming weeks, market observers will look for indications that OPEC’s global pact with large non-OPEC crude producers (including Russia) will reduce crude production by 1.2 million b/d for at least the first six months of 2019, which may help reduce the growing global glut of crude. In turn, this could drive up crude oil prices and, subsequently, gas prices.

In related news, EIA’s latest weekly petroleum status report revealed that total domestic crude inventories held steady for the second week at 441.4 million bbl. Domestic crude production also held steady for a second week at a record high of 11.7 million b/d. Steady inventories amid high production underscores how oversupplied the market currently is, while demand for gasoline remains at a two-year low. Additionally, Baker Hughes, Inc. reported that the U.S. lost eight oilrigs last week, bringing the current total of active oilrigs to 877. When compared to the total number of active rigs at this time last year, there are 135 more rigs this year.

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.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications.After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations.In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.