The latest check into gasoline prices clearly has big winners, and a few losers. Average gasoline prices fell substantially in nearly half of all states in the last week, led lower by prices in North Dakota that fell an average of nearly 21c/gal in just the last week. Indiana prices fell an average 18c/gal, while prices in Michigan fell 17.6c/gal. Other areas seeing big drops were Kansas, where the state average dropped 16.8c/gal, Oklahoma fell 16.4c/gal, Wisconsin fell 15.5c/gal, Minnesota fell 15.c/gal, Ohio prices shed 13.4c/gal.
The losers this week- the areas that saw prices rise against a falling national average? Drum roll... Hawaii saw averages rise 9c/gal, Montana gained 6.1c/gal, Wyoming rose 5.3c/gal, and Alaska rose 1.8c/gal. Beyond that, no states saw average prices rise last week- certainly great news!
Much has changed in the last week- commodities have fallen, precious metals have fallen, the Dow Jones has fallen, with many traders and investors getting out of the market, fearful that demand for oil may drop if the economy heads south.
Oil has dropped to $78 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate while Brent has fallen to $103 per barrel. This has set the stage for the nice declines in gasoline prices that we've been witnessing. While we're all enjoying the falling gasoline prices though- beware that this downturn could be reversed if the economy sudden shows new life, although at this point that may not seem like the most likely scenario.
For this week, I expect another week of falling gasoline prices in 90% of areas, with the holdouts being areas of the Rockies, Alaska, and Hawaii where they may see little or no change in average price. I continue to have a concern about prices in the Great Lakes- since they've fallen so fast, any small increase in wholesale cost may make market players reset/raise their prices (seeing how they've fallen double digits, margins are definitely thinning!) Great Lakes motorists should be ready for a late week price hike if wholesale prices don't continue dropping. Stay tuned!
Also, for diesel consumers- with the downturn in gasoline futures, diesel prices will also likely drop between 10-25c/gal in the next few weeks.
Great news all around!