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Low Gasoline Inventories Push Up Prices For U.S. Consumers

Prices at the pump are climbing for U.S. consumers, with the current average for a gallon of gasoline reaching $3.636 per gallon on Tuesday, according to AAA data.

That is a 4 cent increase in a single day—the largest one-day increase in a year—and a more than 7 cent hike per gallon over the last week as the nation enters peak driving season.

According to the latest Weekly Petroleum Status from the EIA published last Wednesday, total motor gasoline inventories fell by another 1.1 million barrels in the week to a level that is 7% below the five-year average for this time of year. Meanwhile, gasoline production had sagged last week as well, according to EIA data, averaging 9.5 million bpd, with refineries operating at 94.3%. Total motor gasoline stood at 218.4 million barrels as of July 14, compared to 228.4 million barrels the same week in 2022.

The petroleum markets now wait for data from the American Petroleum Institute, scheduled to be released this afternoon, for an updated look at current gasoline inventories.

According to GasBuddy data, U.S. retail gasoline demand rose 0.6% in the week ending Saturday—a week that typically represents peak summer driving season in the country. The largest demand hike for the week was seen in PADD 2, according to GasBuddy.

Gasoline prices are still well below the $4.355 per gallon they were averaging this time last year, when the Biden Administration was still desperate to bring them down and was willing to sell off 180 million barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to do it.

Aside from low gasoline inventories in the United States, crude oil prices have also on the rise, with WTI hitting $79.59 per barrel as of 2:50 p.m. ET.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on July 26 2023 said:
    *"peak heat wave Season"* I would agree with that. No shortage of product upon the US market and in fact a glut of retail hocking gasoline in particular going on all Summer now.

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