Weekly Gasoline Update: Regular Down A Nickel

by: Doug Short

It's time again for my weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Following up on the previous week's two cent decline, gasoline prices fell again last week. Rounded to the penny, the average for Regular dropped a nickel and Premium four cents. This is the second decline after eleven weeks of price rises.

According to GasBuddy.com, three states, Hawaii and California and Alaska are averaging above $4.00 per gallon, unchanged from last week. Two states (New York and Connecticut) and Washington DC are averaging above $3.90, also unchanged from a week ago.

Last week Business Insider featured a chart illustrating the gasoline price trend over the course of a year.

However, if we dig into EIA the data, we find that over the past 20 years, the weekly high for the average retail price of all gasoline formulations occurred in May seven times, in August four times, twice in November and once January, April, June, July, September, October and December. February and March don't make the list. If history is a guide, we can expect that 2013 peak prices lie ahead.

How far are we from the interim high prices of 2011 and the all-time highs of 2008? Here's a visual answer.

The next chart is a weekly chart overlay of West Texas Intermediate Crude, Brent Crude and unleaded gasoline end-of-day spot prices (GASO). WTIC closed Monday at 92.03, up 1.74 from last Monday.

The volatility in crude oil and gasoline prices has been clearly reflected in recent years in both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE). For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the CPI, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).