As Thanksgiving nears — and gas prices in the area hold steady — AAA Kansas has given everyone a reason to be thankful, somewhat.
Despite AAA Kansas reporting the state average of $2.40 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is 23 percent higher than a year ago — when the state average was $1.95 — the agency noted that gas prices held this week.
"Many cities across Kansas are seeing gas prices 20 percent to 30 percent higher, when compared to the same time in 2016," said Jennifer Haugh, AAA Kansas spokeswoman. "Gasoline supply has been limited by strong demand this October and November, keeping the price at the pumps higher.
"As Kansans prepare to travel for Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, they will need to budget a bit more for gas this year. We’re still in pretty good shape nationally, though, as Kansas has the 12th lowest state gas price average in the United States this week."
Locally, gas prices remained steady with a majority of stations — Flying J, Love’s Travel Plazas, Dillons, Murphy USA and Kwik Shops — all sitting at $2.28. Three Dodge City locations are listed at $2.49.
A Cimarron station, Phillips 66 on 1st Street, is currently the lowest in the area with a $2.27 a gallon price. Meade has $2.39 a gallon, while Spearville is listed at $2.49.
"If you use gas prices to figure out the time of year it is, you’d probably think it’s spring based on the continued upward trend showing up in much of the country," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com. "Absent is the beloved fall at the pump that we’re used to that accompanies the fall weather, but apparently this year is playing a trick on motorists.
"The cheapest price this year was in July while the most expensive showed up after the driving season concluded as Harvey hit, and we may get closer to that mark as gasoline inventories continue to drift to new multi-year lows.
"It’s been a lousy time for motorists, and I'd expect to see some cut their spending during the holidays as gas prices are up."
At $2.56 a gallon, the national gas price average has increased 9 cents inside of 13 days, according to AAA Kansas. Strong fall consumer gasoline demand has continued into November and is chipping away at national gasoline inventory. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports total gasoline inventories dropped by 3.3 million bbl in their latest report.
"Compared to the first half of November last year, US average gas prices this November are 39 cents more expensive," said Haugh.
Gas prices last week increased for the majority of states across the country. However, only four states are seeing double-digit fluctuations at the pump: Florida (+13 cents), Indiana (-13 cents), Alaska (+12 cents) and Ohio (-10 cents).
According to CNBC, A downbeat outlook for oil demand from a top energy watchdog and fears of rising U.S. output sparked a sell-off in crude futures this week, but analysts say the market was already poised for a pullback.
It is a pullback from a recent spike fueled by signs of improving oil demand and a month of escalating tensions in the Middle East that threatened output from top OPEC producers.
CNBC reported the International Energy Agency lowered its outlook for demand growth in both 2017 and 2018, in part because of warmer than expected winter weather.
Global demand will struggle to sop up rising output by producers outside the 14-member OPEC cartel, particularly from the United States, IEA said in its monthly oil report. Recent weekly figures show U.S. drillers are pumping near an all-time high.
"This is why, absent any geopolitical premium, we may not have seen a ‘new normal’ for oil prices," IEA concluded.
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