A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

National average for gasoline hits $4.48 per gallon; Kentucky at $4.24, up 22 cents on the week

With the national average cost for regular gas steadily climbing, three states — Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma — are the only states to avoid officially crossing the $4 per gallon mark. The national average for a gallon of gasoline is now $4.48, up 15 cents from a week ago. The nationwide increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which is hovering near $110 a barrel.

“The high cost of oil, the key ingredient in gasoline, is driving these high pump prices for consumers,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Even the annual seasonal demand dip for gasoline during the lull between spring break and Memorial Day, which would normally help lower prices, is having no effect this year.”

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 3.6 million barrels to 225 million barrels last week. Gasoline demand also decreased slightly from 8.86 million barrels a day to 8.7 million barrels a day. Typically, lower demand would put downward pressure on pump prices. However, crude prices remain volatile, and as they surge, pump prices follow suit. Pump prices will likely face upward pressure as long as oil prices stay above $105 per barrel.

(Photo from Creative Commons)

Meanwhile, the switch to the more expensive summer blend of gasoline is underway. The switch, which happens annually, usually adds anywhere from 7 to 15 cents per gallon depending on the market. This switchover should be complete nationwide by the start of June. The switch to summer blend is unrelated to the Biden Administration’s announcement a few weeks ago to allow the higher ethanol E15 gas blend to remain on sale throughout the summer until September.

Today’s national average for a gallon of gas is $4.48, which is 40 cents more than a month ago, and $1.44 more than a year ago

Kentucky’s gas price average is now at $4.24, which is 22 cents higher on the week and 44 cents higher on the month. Today’s price is $1.37 more than a year ago.

The counties with the highest gas price averages are led by Menifee County at $4.49, followed by Jefferson County at $4.39 and Shelby County at $4.37. Lowest average in the commonwealth can be found in Hardin County at 4.05 and Henderson at $4.06..

Checking nearby, the average price for a gallon of unleaded today in Ohio is $4.29, West Virginia $4.29, Virginia $4.32, Tennessee $4.21, Indiana $4.42, Illinois $4.83 and Missouri $4.05.

The highest spot in the nation is California at $5.98, followed by Hawaii at $5.31. Kansas has the lowest gas price average in the nation, currently at $3.99.

Diesel prices continue to hover near record highs, with the national average holding steady at $5.57 after reaching that new record high over the weekend. Here in Kentucky, the average prices of diesel is now at $5.25, down a penny from the record.

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Florida (+29 cents), New York (+24 cents), Illinois (+23 cents), Kentucky (+22 cents), New Hampshire (+22 cents), Connecticut (+21 cents), Massachusetts (+20 cents), Ohio (+19 cents), Maine (+19 cents) and Indiana (+19 cents).

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets: California ($5.98), Hawaii ($5.31), Nevada ($5.17), Washington ($5.03), Oregon ($4.99), Alaska ($4.88), Washington, D.C. ($4.83), Illinois ($4.82), New York ($4.75) and Arizona ($4.75).

Oil prices also increased sharply at the close of last week, with West Texas intermediate increased by $1.51 to settle at $109.77 at the close of Friday’s formal trading session. Crude prices rose last week after the European Union announced a proposal to ban Russian oil imports within six months, while refined product imports would be prohibited by the end of 2022. The price increases occurred despite continuing COVID lockdowns in China weighing down crude demand and EIA reporting that total domestic crude inventories increased by 1.3 million barrels to 415.7 million barrels. This is approximately 14 percent lower than the storage level at the end of April 2021. Since supply remains tight and the market remains highly volatile, crude prices will likely continue to fluctuate this week, potentially pushing pump prices higher.

AAA Blue Grass

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