Arkansas and Oklahoma remain among the top 10 cheapest gas states in the nation following a slight decline in gas prices over the past week that are tied to tensions of tariffs with China and Europe.
Although an additional 3 cent per gallon tax went into effect for Arkansas drivers last week, gas prices in Arkansas fell about 1 cent since then even as West Texas Intermediate crude increased 36 cents a barrel to $52.81 on Friday.
“Crude prices ended lower last week after continued trade tensions between the U.S. and China worried market observers,” AAA states in its weekly analysis. “Those fears grew last week after the World Trade Organization ruled that the U.S. could impose tariffs on goods from the European Union. Increased tariffs could reduce global crude demand, helping to push prices down even further while crude supplies continue to increase. Moving into this week, further trade tensions could reduce crude prices amid worries that global crude demand will decline.”
In related news, in its latest weekly report, date from the Energy Information Administration reveals total domestic crude inventories grew by 3.1 million barrels. And at 422.6 million barrels, crude stocks are 18.7 million barrels higher than where they were at this time last year.
Arkansas gas prices averaged $2.30 a gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 1,826 stations. Gas prices in Arkansas are about 8 cents cents per gallon higher than a month ago, yet stand 35.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Arkansas was priced at $2.13 a gallon on Monday, while the most expensive was $2.99.
The national average price of gasoline has risen less than a penny per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.65 on Monday. The national average is up 9.6 cents per gallon from a month ago, yet stands 25.3 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, GasBuddy noted in its weekly report.
"It was a mixed bag for gas prices over the last week even as oil prices remained relatively low,” writes Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “California continued to lead the nation as prices skyrocketed, but appear to have peaked for now, while the Great Lakes states also saw prices march higher due to a price cycle. Other states saw some downward movement, but we appear ripe for a week that features more price decreases than increases, especially for hard-hit California.”
DeHaan feels the national average is due to edge lower by about 5 cents in the coming week. He also thinks the increases should be limited due to oil's drop in the last week, which was fueled by continued worry over tariffs and trade.
DeHaan also noted the World Trade Organization agreed with the U.S. that Airbus was getting favorable treatment.
“Many motorists may scoff at such an issue affecting gas prices, but indeed, the threat of tariffs between such large trading partners is a serious issue that could result in slowdowns in both areas, leaving demand for oil lower and thus weighing on oil prices as a result,” DeHaan wrote.
Monday, 51% of all gas stations in the country are selling regular unleaded. The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.27), South Carolina ($2.28), Mississippi ($2.28), Texas ($2.31), Alabama ($2.31), Arkansas ($2.31), Missouri ($2.32), Virginia ($2.32), Oklahoma ($2.33) and Tennessee ($2.34).
Florida was one of a handful of states east of the Mississippi to see gas prices jump on the week. All other states in the South and Southeast continued to see cheaper or stable pump prices with Georgia ($2.49), Texas ($2.31) and South Carolina ($2.28) seeing the largest decline of 4 cents.
With a 1 million barrel draw, gasoline stocks dipped down to 79.3 million barrels in the South and Southeast. According to AAA, the drop in stocks can likely be attributed to an increase in exports and a dip in regional refinery utilization, which dropped by 4% to 88% — a regional rate not seen since March. The lower rate is in response to both planned, and unplanned, maintenance at refineries. However, with stocks at a healthy level, motorists are unlikely to see large swings at the pump, AAA states.