The Memorial Day holiday weekend in the US is the traditional kickoff of the nation’s summer driving season. With this year’s Memorial Day holiday looming, the national average retail price for regular gasoline stands at $3.67/gal, as it was this time last year, said the US Energy Information Administration.
Gasoline prices increased 42¢/gal from early February to late April but have fallen modestly in recent weeks as increasing refinery crude oil throughput and higher imports have added supplies to the market.
The price of retail gasoline reflects both the price of crude oil and the wholesale gasoline crack spread.
“The price of North Sea Brent crude has averaged $109/bbl thus far in May, $6/bbl more than the May 2013 average. However, lower wholesale gasoline crack spreads compared with last year have offset higher crude prices,” EIA said.
For the 4 weeks ending May 16, crude oil inputs into US refineries totaled 15.9 million b/d, 0.8 million b/d higher than a year earlier, adding the market supply and lowering wholesale gasoline crack spreads.
Retail prices are the highest in California, averaging $4.16/gal on May 19 and lowest on the Gulf Coast (Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3), where on May 19 they stood at $3.44/gal.