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The national average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States appears to be holding steady, but consumers out West are seeing hikes, Gas Buddy said in a Monday note— and prices across the country may rise starting next month.
The national average for a gallon of gasoline held steady at $3.37, Gas Buddy data showed on Monday, down 2.7 cents from a month ago and 14.5 cents lower than this time last year.
Texas and Mississippi consumers are paying the least for gas, at under $3 per gallon. Meanwhile, California and Nevada residents are paying north of $4 per gallon, with California paying $4.66.
“Motorists across many areas of the country have seen gas prices inching down for another week, while some states have moved higher. We’ve seen some refinery challenges in pockets of the country, while others are starting the transition to summer gasoline, weighing on prices. For diesel, the outlook remains bright with prices continuing to fall”, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy said on Monday.
Demand for gasoline is rising, according to GasBuddy data, up 0.1% last week, led by PADD 1. Demand fell in the remaining 4 PADDs. PADD 1, where the demand gains were realized, encompasses the East Coast states.
The largest dip in demand came from Rocky Mountain PADD 4, at 2.8%.
Gasoline inventories rose 2.3 million barrels last week, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, but are still 5% below the five-year seasonal average.
Falling demand and rising inventories could lead to further price drops, but GasBuddy sees prices rising.
“I do think that prices will start rising in March, and that’s a trend that could last all the way through Memorial Day, de Haan told Insider over the weekend.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.