Many analysts, including yours truly, has been saying for weeks, nay, months, that gasoline prices would begin declining in April or May as refinery maintenance wraps up and the conversion to summer gasoline completes.
The decrease in the national average started about May 1, and since then has fallen about 3 cents per gallon. The decreases would be slow to amount to much, before gaining steam, we said. But in the last week, the decrease in the national average has seemingly stopped.
In fact, over the last week, the national average is actually up $0.002 per gallon, and while that is certainly little to talk about, there are some signs that it may take more time for a larger decrease to emerge.
The catalyst for this sudden change seem (in my opinion) to have been Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's comments about ceasing the crude oil export ban that the United States has had for decades. This is important in that it would allow U.S. produced oil to be exported, and thus, allow for supply to be diverted elsewhere as U.S. oil producers see supply swell, and U.S. refineries can't process it fast enough.
The importance is that for the first time in decades, once landlocked crude oils would be able to be legally exported, driving up demand for those crudes, and resulting in higher prices as those crudes shed their artificially depressed price, landlocked status.
The recent week-long rally in crude is certainly nothing spectacular, and doesn't seem to have a firm footing. Meanwhile gasoline prices have ceased their drop, but the longer they hold steady or rise slightly, the more they'll drop later once the air starts coming out of the balloon that is the current rally in gasoline futures.The timing is the only factor, and getting it correct is difficult, at best.
Meanwhile, around the U.S., Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Missouri are seeing the lowest gasoline prices with averages in those states all in the $3.30s.
Surprisingly, Topeka, Kansas has somehow nabbed the distinction of cheapest gasoline in the country, at an average $3.299 a gallon this morning, followed by Lubbock, TX at $3.31/gal, and Armarillo, TX at $3.32/gal.
Hold patient, Buddies- gasoline prices will soon decline, but we've hit a road bump that has slowed down the price decreases- at least for now.