Following a 10-cent jump overnight last week, gasoline prices stabilized this week.

Area stations fell slightly, with prices at most stations on Thursday morning being $2.23 a gallon. Those stations included Murphy USA, Dillons, Kwik Shop, Love’s Travel Plazas and Flying J.

Statewide, prices climbed an average of 4.3 cents per gallon to a $2.31 average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

The national average is $2.44 a gallon, down 1.6 cents per gallon from last week.

"The national average gas price is lower for the sixth straight week, the longest such decline since the summer of 2016," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com. "Perhaps even more wild is that the national average has now remained under $3 per gallon for nearly 3 years, or 1,087 days as the days of cheap oil have continued.

"While recent actions from OPEC may cause oil prices to hold above the key $50 per barrel level, there is no threat of a quick return to the $3 per gallon days. In fact, the national average may continue to decline for a few weeks before leveling off as gasoline inventories continue to heal after Harvey."

While the national picture looks good, Dodge City can attest to something causing gasoline prices to jump higher quickly.

"The future isn’t all roses. Some areas of the Midwest have seen prices rise as refineries undergo seasonal maintenance and inventories in the region remain tight, keeping prices elevated," DeHaan said. "Regional hotspots like this may continue in the weeks ahead as gas stations come closer to fully passing along lower gas prices after Harvey and now become subject to new factors driving prices up and down."

Oil prices were steady on Thursday, pressured by an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories, high U.S. production and exports.

Markets have been supported by comments from Saudi Arabia's energy minister earlier this week reiterating the kingdom's determination to end a global supply glut that has weighed on prices for more than three years.

Crude oil for immediate lifting has moved to a premium over later futures prices, indicating that demand for oil is strong in many of the biggest consuming regions, including Europe.

According to a CNBC report, oil prices have been rising for weeks and some investors have begun to take profits, brokers say.

"The trend is up, but getting tired," said Robin Bieber, technical chart analyst and a director of London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 856,000 barrels last week, U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed. Analysts had expected a decrease of 2.6 million barrels.

 

To contact the writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.