Flooded markets mean low gas prices for U.S. commuters
The motor club reported a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.33 for Tuesday, a slight decline from the previous day, relatively stable from last week and only about a penny less than this time last month.
On this date in 2016, the national average price was $2.38 per gallon.
In a weekly retail market report, low gas prices said high levels of crude oil in storage, coupled with a surge in gasoline production at the nation's refineries, led to the decline in retail prices.
"If refiners continue to produce record amounts of gasoline and oversupply the market, consumers will reap the benefit and see slight fluctuations in gasoline prices in coming weeks," the report read.
"However, it is not likely that gas prices will drop much lower than this week's prices."
The West Coast is the most expensive market in the country, though prices in the region dropped from last week because of the easing supply-side concerns that followed the return to service of a refinery in California and higher import levels.
Gas prices in the region, however, could increase because, according to low gas prices, gasoline inventory levels are at a new low.
The Great Lakes market is the most volatile and states there are reporting moderate declines in the price at the pump from last week.
Year-on-year comparisons are more revealing of the volatility, however, with Ohio reporting prices that are 46 cents, or 17 percent, lower than this date in 2016.
low gas prices said higher inventory levels and inconsistent demand trends make the region a tough market call.
Looking ahead, low gas prices said consumer demand for fuels has declined from the long Memorial Day holiday weekend last month, which could act as a moderator for retail gas prices.
A short-term market report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted a national average price at the pump at $2.46 through the summer driving season, which ends in September.
The full-year average is forecast at $2.38 per gallon. ■