It's here- the national average stopped rising, at least for a few days. Dropping slightly since last night- one hundredth of a penny, we could see the pattern continue as some (not all) refining woes and pipeline issues have been figured out, and demand is set to fall in the weeks ahead.
We mentioned it Friday- that the national average would likely begin to fall in the upcoming weeks, and we do largely expect that to occur, but until mid-September, we may see prices largely stabilize or drop slightly.
Add in the switch-over back to winter gasoline in much of the country starting September 15, and hopefully gasoline prices will continue to ease.
The national average today remains higher than last year, by about 12-cents per gallon, and we continue to remain on the path towards the highest yearly average for gasoline ever. There's little hope that we can avoid branding 2012 with such a phrase, but that doesn't mean there is zero relief ahead, either.
States hard hit by refining issues and price spikes are showing signs of cooling. The Illinois state average has shed about 5-cents per gallon in the last week, while California is seeing an increase of a paltry 1.5c/gal after weeks of big increases. Other areas where refining problems had caused spikes are seeing relief as well- Wisconsin is down 2c/gal in the last week, Michigan is down 10c/gal, Ohio down 8c/gal, and Indiana down 12c/gal.
One place that may see little relief? West Washington and Oregon. For the time being, inventories in these regions remain very tight. Combined with the Chevron refinery fire and things are somewhat dire. There's hope for relief- but it won't be any time in the next few days.