“Gas prices were knocked off their seasonal upward trend when new data revealed record-high refinery activity,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.
“When refineries finished spring maintenance season, they accelerated production to levels that outpaced demand. Because of this unexpected shift in fundamentals, motorists have likely seen the highest prices for the foreseeable future and retail prices should fall a few more cents this week,” Jenkins said.
Gas prices reached their highest monthly average for April in two years.
Dan McTeague, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst, agreed that prices appear poised to drop again this week.
“An oversupply of gasoline as refiners ramp up production will continue to exert downward pressure on prices at the pumps,” McTeague said. “The national average gasoline price of $2.35 per gallon is a mere 14 cents higher than a year ago, down from a gap of nearly 40 cents just months ago.”
“The expected bump in fuel demand doesn’t seem to be coming, leaving refineries with a lot of inventory that has yet to find a market,” McTeague said.
Monday signals the start of the work week for many people, and it’s also the best day to fill up on gasoline in Florida and 22 other states, GasBuddy said Wednesday.
GasBuddy analyzed three years’ worth of fuel price data and found that Monday offers the lowest average, making it the best day to fill the tank.
Thursday is the day with the most expensive average price.
Thursday’s Florida average is 1.22 cents higher than Monday’s, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.
“The rise in average prices towards the weekend could be to blame on an influential report from the Energy Information Administration issued weekly on Wednesdays, which could push prices higher the day after, depending on if data in its report is as expected or a surprise,” DeHaan said.
“Since commodities trading isn’t active over the weekend, if typically allows stations to ‘let it ride’ over the weekend, culminating in lower prices by the start of the work week,” DeHaan said.
If every U.S. motorist bought gasoline on Thursday for an entire years, they would collectively spend an extra $1.1 billion versus filling up on Monday, GasBuddy analysts calculated.
Where is the cheapest gas in Palm Beach County? Since three Wawa convenience stores opened last Thursday, it’s likely to be at Wawa, as well as at numerous gas stations within a few miles of those.
The “Wawa effect” is in full force, but it’s not known how long it will last.
“It is not uncommon that when a store enters a new market, that it is hyper competitive on gas prices,” said Jeff Lenard, the National Association of Convenience Stores vice president of strategic industry initiatives.
Wednesday, regular was priced at $2.17 a gallon at the three Wawas at 3950 S. Congress Ave., and 1771 S. Congress Ave., both in Palm Springs and at 7289 Garden Road in Riviera Beach. That’s well below the county’s average of $2.44 a gallon, down 3 cents from a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report
But Florida’s average remains unchanged from a week ago at $2.29 a gallon.
The increased competition helps explain why five gas stations in Lake Park within 1 to 3 miles of the Riviera Beach Wawa, are also selling gas at $2.17, according to GasBuddy.com. Rocket Fuel, 100 N. Federal Highway, North Palm Beach, is offering regular for $2.15.
A few stations near the Palm Springs Wawas dropped their prices to $2.16 a gallon, and Wednesday gas was also $2.16 a gallon at Costco in Lantana and Royal Palm Beach and at BJs in Boynton Beach.
Wawa’s introductory $1.99 a gallon ended Saturday.
The price of gas is still the top reason 51 percent of consumers surveyed say they stop at a particular station, but 16 percent say they choose a fueling location for the quality of its food, a national survey NACS released Wednesday revealed.
“The margins on fuel are slim, and the idea is to get them in the store and incent them with a snack, sandwich or drinks,” Lenard said.
In the convenience store business, gasoline accounts for 70 percent of revenue dollars, but only 40 percent of profit dollars, Lenard said.
Patrick Dehaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said, “Sometimes, a large chain similar to Wawa will enter a new market and use low prices to spread word of mouth to bring in traffic and acquaint customers with their stations/brand.”
DeHaan said the low prices can last for days or weeks until the ownership is satisfied the brand is established.
“Wawa is likely forgoing profit for the aforementioned reasons. I wouldn’t expect it to be permanent. It’s likely an accepted cost of entering a market,” DeHaan said.
Lori Bruce, spokeswoman for Wawa, Pa.-based Wawa, said, “In new markets, it is our goal to attract new customers, as we are doing that in Palm Beach County with our offer and competitive pricing. In every new market we’ve entered, we’ve increased the level of competition in the market, and that benefits our customers and fulfills our value proposition. We consider fuel as part of our overall unique offer that includes food, fresh beverages, convenience, services and fuel in one experience.”
Inexpensive gasoline is something many consumers seek, and more than half of consumers will drive out of their way to save 5 cents a gallon, Lenard said, even if driving those extra miles doesn’t make sense.
NACS’ survey found that 67 percent of consumers will drive 10 minutes out of their way to save 5 cents a gallon. That’s a 20-minute round trip, and at 30 miles per gallon, equates to burning to half a gallon. If gas is $2 a gallon, the motorist won’t break even, Lenard said.
Even saving 10 cents a gallon amounts to only $1.80 for an 18-gallon tank.
“But there is a real feeling of satisfaction and a real feeling of accomplishment when you are able to, as a consumer, affect your gas prices. There is nothing else like it,” Lenard said “You will not see someone drive out of their way to save 50 cents on milk, bread or eggs.”
Motorists are about to experience a spring surprise. Gasoline prices could plunge as much as 5 to 10 cents a gallon in the short term as the price of crude oil fell last week.
The falling prices come at a time of year when gas prices typically rise as refineries undergo maintenance and switch to more expensive summer fuel blends.
Monday, Palm Beach County’s average had already dipped 2 cents a gallon to $2.49 from $2.51 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. Florida’s average stood at $2.27 Monday, down 1 cent from a week ago.
Some stations are well below the average. Here’s the lowest price for regular as reported on GasBuddy.com in the following cities:
Jupiter: $2.39, Circle K, 126 W. Indiantown Road
Palm Beach Gardens: $2.34, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.
North Palm Beach: $2.27, Citgo, 100 N. Federal Highway
West Palm Beach area: $2.28, Citgo, 970 S. Military Trail
Lake Worth area: $2.24, J&A, 4703 S. Military Trail
Wellington: $2.39, Marathon, 2741 State Road 7; Shell, 192 U.S. 441
“The oil market suffered a ‘mini collapse’ last week, following reports of a record build in domestic crude oil,” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “This will postpone the customary spring-time gas price spike. Prices could drop 5-10 cents int he short term, but this downward trend may be only temporary.”
“A sudden plunge in the price of oil is likely to weigh on gas prices, at least temporarily,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “With little warning or expectation, crude oil last week broke out of the rut it had well established, with crude prices falling out of a 3-month range of $51-$54 per barrel to $49.”
“Naturally, when oil prices take a beating such as they did last week, one might expect gasoline prices to move in lockstep, but due the complex relationship of oil and gasoline prices and the middleman- U.S. refineries- motorists may not see as large a decline at the pump as they may hope for- but certainly stay tuned,” DeHaan said.
DeHaan said he remains optimistic that the annual spring rally at the pump could be less severe than expected, but added that is remains difficult to know where the new path will lead oil prices in the week ahead.
The spring run-up in gasoline prices has begun in Palm Beach County, as the average for a gallon of regular shot up 6 cents to $2.51 on Monday, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Last Monday the county’s average for regular grade was $2.45 a gallon.
Florida’s average rose to $2.28 Monday from $2.27 a week ago.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.”Gasoline prices are starting to pick up steam as a majority of states see their average rise over last week, a function of the season’s theatrics coming into view: refinery maintenance and the transition to cleaner gasoline pumping up prices.
“Some states gas prices may slightly lag the upward trend being seen in 38 states as remaining winter gasoline inventories are purged. However, as we grow closer to Baseball’s Opening Day, the nation’s motorists will be more likely to strikeout when trying to find $1.99 gas prices, which remain at just 8,000 stations across just handful of states. In a sign of what’s to come in some of the nation’s largest cities, motorists in Southern California have become the first in the lower 48 states to see the ugly “3” showing up on gas station displays at street level,” DeHaan said.
Gasoline prices typically rise in the spring as refineries switch from winter fuel blends to more expensive summer fuel blends.
Enjoy this week’s gasoline prices, because the spring run-up is forecast to start any day now.
Gasoline prices are relatively flat this week, with Palm Beach County’s average dipping to $2.45 for a gallon of regular Monday from $2.46 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Florida’s average fell to $2.27 from $2.28 a week ago.
The least expensive gas found locally is $2.19 a gallon at 7-Eleven, 1001 N. Military Trail and Belvedere Road in suburban West Palm Beach, according to GasBuddy.com
“With refinery maintenance and turnarounds beginning across the country, we’ll likely see a draw down on winter gasoline stocks, leading the national average to rise in the week ahead,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst.
Throughout the past five years, gas prices rose 35 to 70 cents from February to Memorial Day, and motorists should expect the same this year, AAA said.
$2.24, Murphy USA, 103 N. Congress Ave., Lake Park
“Crude oil continues to drive the market,” said AAA spokesman Josh Carrasco. “Domestic oil production and a glut in oil and gas supplies are keeping a lid on prices at the pump. The best time to fill up your tank is now because, historically, gas prices begin to climb until we reach Memorial Day.”
Gas prices generally peak around Memorial Day. In fact, in six of the past 17 years, the seasonal peak has taken place between May 9th and May 24th. Historically, between February and the peak price, the average annual increase is about 54 cents per gallon. Several factors contribute to this annual increase including, refinery maintenance, the switch to summer-blend fuels which are more expensive to produce and an increase in demand as more people begin traveling in the spring and summertime.
EIA reports showed U.S. oil production held steady at 8.97 million barrels a day, continuing to offset OPEC’s efforts to increase oil prices.
OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report stated that participating countries successfully implemented 90 percent of the agreed production cuts they pledged in last year’s historic deal.
Gasoline prices remain relatively flat this week as demand remains low, but that is expected to end in the next few weeks.
Palm Beach County’s average for a gallon of regular rose to $2.44 from $2.43 a week ago, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report. Florida’s average dropped to $2.27 from $2.28 a week ago.
Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Gas Buddy.com said that over the next few weeks gas stations are more likely to raise their prices than to lower them as demand begins to recover. Crude oil imports will start to reflect OPEC’s lower output, he said.
The national average typically rises 35 to 65 cents from its low price, usually in February, through Memorial Day, DeHaan said.
Here’s a look at the lowest prices reported locally on GasBuddy.com
Jupiter: $2.39, Circle K, 126 W. Indiantown Road; Mobil, 3950 W. Indiantown Road
Palm Beach Gardens: $2.29, Sunoco, 2490 PGA Blvd.
Lake Park: $2.15, RaceTrac, 200 N. Congress Ave.; Sunoco, 774 Northlake Blvd.; Marathon, 980 Northlake Blvd.; Speedway, 1216 Northlake Blvd.; Murphy USA, 103. N. Congress Ave.
North Palm Beach: $2.20, Citgo, 100 N. Federal Highway
Suburban West Palm Beach: $2.19, 7-Eleven, 1001 N. Military Trail; Speedway, 6840 Okeechobee Blvd.; Marathon, 6917 Okeechobee Blvd.; Murphy USA, 1050 N. Military Trail; Exxon, 3066 N. Military Trail
Suburban Lake Worth: $2.16, RaceTrac, 3032 Lake Worth Road and Congress Ave.; Speedway, 3965 Congress Ave.
At least a dozen Palm Beach County gas stations are selling regular Monday for $2.16 a gallon, according to Gasbuddy.com. Among them are Speedway, 3965 S. Congress Ave and Lake Worth Road and Sam’s Club at 4295 4th Street, West Palm Beach.
“Increased domestic oil production and low seasonal demand continue to push gas prices lower,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Oil and gas inventories are above-average for this time of year, which should continue to keep downward pressure on pump prices in the short-term.”
Crude inventories increased by 6.5 million barrels and gasoline inventories rose by 3.9 million barrels, which are historically above the norm for this time of year, the Energy Information Administration reports.
Prices at the pump are expected to remain relatively stable to round out the winter. However, motorists should expect gasoline prices to increase in the spring as demand increases and refineries switch to summer-blend fuels, AAA said.
Industry analysts expect gas prices will likely rise to an average of $2.50 to $2.80 per gallon this spring. Nationally, the EIA expects gas prices to average $2.38 in 2017, which is 23 cents higher than the 2016 average.
Last week the U.S. Department of Energy released a report showing a huge buildup in gasoline inventory. That coupled with winter storms that brought snow, sleet, freezing rain and ice storms to various parts of the country from California to the Deep South resulted in immediate and downward pressure on fuel prices, Laskoski said.