Gas prices continue to decline

This week’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58. This price is five cents less expensive than one week ago, 11 cents less than one month ago and 34 cents less than one year ago. The 34-cent year-over-year decline is the largest such mark since October 20, 2009. The national average has now fallen for six straight days and 35 of 40 days since the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.

Motorists in every state are enjoying year-over-year price relief at the pump, including declines of more than 40 cents per gallon in nine states. Month-over-month relief has been nearly as universal with drivers in only four states in the Mountain West paying more than they did a month ago: Utah (13 cents), Idaho (5 cents), Colorado (3 cents) and Montana (2 cents).

Retail gas prices across the country surged to begin 2013, as the national average increased 49 cents through the end of February. This was the largest increase on record for the first two months of a year. The run up was only somewhat attributed to higher crude oil prices and was instead driven by a decline in refinery production and higher gasoline futures prices. Similarly, the recent decline following the dramatic rise has not been a product of lower crude oil prices, which have actually increased during this stretch. Falling retail gas prices have instead been the result of an increase in refinery production and economic concerns, which have raised demand concerns.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has traded in a relatively narrow range of $7.82 in 2013 in comparison to recent years. WTI began the year at $93.12 and increased to a year-to-date peak of $97.94 on January 30 before settling as low as $90.12 on March 4. By comparison, WTI traded in a $22.40 range during the first quarter of 2011 (a low of $84.32 on Feb. 15, a high of $106.72 on March 31) and a $13.41 range during the same period in 2012 (a low of $96.36 on Feb. 2, a high of $109.77 on Feb. 24).

South Dakota’s statewide average this week is at $3.569 which is 25 cents lower than one year ago. The most expensive gas in the state this week can be found in Mission, $3.864 per gallon. South Dakota’s least expensive gas is in Piedmont, $3.239.

A not-for-profit organization, AAA South Dakota serves its 92,400 members across South Dakota with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through branch offices, and the Internet at AAA.com.

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