As of Wednesday, November 7, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. - For the fourth straight week, gas prices have continued to fall: the national average price for a gallon of gasoline is down 7.0 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.73 per gallon, the lowest level in over 200 days, according to GasBuddy.
The national average price of diesel saw modest relief as well, falling 1.4 cents to an average of $3.27 per gallon.
In Washington state, gas prices have fallen 4.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.45 per gallon on Sunday, Nov. 4, according to GasBuddy.
Average gasoline prices on November 5 in Washington have ranged widely over the last five years including $2.91 per gallon in 2017, $2.71 per gallon in 2016, $2.46 per gallon in 2015, $3.13 per gallon in 2014 and $3.35 per gallon in 2013.
Including the change locally during the past week, prices yesterday were 54.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and are 5.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
“Motorists have just enjoyed the largest one week decline in average gas prices in 2018 with the national average falling to its lowest level since April,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy on Monday. “Oil markets have been weak as refinery maintenance season has slowed down crude oil inputs, leading to oil inventories that have risen noticeably.
“In addition, jitters over the economy and stock market have helped to push values down. But beware- any politician taking credit ahead of the elections is absolutely pulling your leg,” DeHaan said. “We should see prices move lower yet again- but this behavior is par for the course every autumn. In addition, sanctions on Iran were reimposed yesterday, but while some countries that import oil from Iran have waivers, those waivers may be temporary- so the drop at the pump may not continue indefinitely.”
Energy markets suffered widespread losses last week, continuing from a month of declines that have seen West Texas Intermediate and Dated Brent crude oil shed nearly $13 per barrel and pivot decisively to correction territory as traders and analysts alike appear convinced that U.S. trade sanctions on Iran will have no appreciable effect global oil supplies. While the U.S. Secretary of State has issued temporary waivers to several oil-dependent nations like India, Japan and South Korea, the exemptions may prove redundant and lead to unexpected consequences in the near term, especially with this morning’s clarification by the State Department.
Meanwhile, trade negotiations between the U.S. and China appear to be showing a glimpse of hope and could prove helpful in restoring lost value in crude oil, especially if, as expected, hard numbers on the impact of embargoed Iranian barrels, now estimated to be 1.7 million barrels a day, gains traction.
The second week of November will show more activity as larger geopolitical events move from speculation to reality, be it U.S. trade with China or unmet reduced global crude production. American refiners emerging from longer than expected turnarounds could also serve as a floor for oil prices and a basis for partial recovery before the Thanksgiving weekend.