Gasoline demand was near an all-time record high last week, helping push prices to the highest national average since August 2014.
While prices are fairly stable, AAA reports the national average at 52 cents a gallon higher the same period last year. GasBuddy states prices Monday were 49.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and are unchanged versus a month ago.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the demand has been 9.88 million barrels per day lately.
GasBuddy puts the latest gas price averages at $2.59 in Arkansas and $2.63 in Oklahoma. Prices in Arkansas have not changed much in the past week, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,826 stations in Arkansas.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, noted Monday oil prices have held under $70 per barrel and has expectations the price per gallon will continue to hold less than $3 per gallon.
"With several bullish and bearish factors weighing on oil prices, you may see gas prices stuck in some sort of late summer blues before motorists see more sizable relief coming after Labor Day,” DeHaan added. “Refiners continue to hum along meeting high demand with few kinks, leading to gas prices that have remained between $2.80-$2.89 per gallon the entire summer thus far."
GasBuddy’s historical data show average gasoline prices on Aug. 6 in Arkansas at $2.10 a gallon in 2017, $1.90 in 2016, $2.35 in 2015, $3.26 in 2014 and $3.37 in 2013.
The latest EIA data shows gasoline inventories tightening from 240 million barrels at the end of June down to 231 million barrels at the end of July, AAA notes. The boost in demand and drop in inventory have driven the national gas price average to $2.87, which is the most expensive gas price seen in August since 2014.
“We are likely going to see an end-of-summer pump-price rally as inventories continue to tighten, especially on the East Coast,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “This week’s EIA demand and inventory reports will give further indication of how much higher the national gas price average could jump before summer is over.”