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INDIANAPOLIS — Motorists nationwide are feeling the hurt at the gas pump as the nation’s average gas price has risen for the third consecutive week.

GasBuddy reports the average price has claimed 13.6 cents from a week ago to $4.31 per gallon. The national average is up 19.6 cents from April, and $1.36 per gallon higher than this time last year. The national average price of diesel has risen 22.6 cents in the last week, now standing at $5.52 per gallon.

“Gasoline and diesel prices alike saw strong upward momentum last week as oil prices continued to climb after the EU signaled its desire to sanction Russian oil. In addition, U.S. petroleum inventories saw yet another weekly decline as we near the start of summer driving season,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Not only are diesel prices at a record high, they are at their largest differential to gasoline on record, surpassing the 98-cent difference in 2008 and currently standing at a $1.20 per gallon premium. While motorists filling with gasoline have seen a slight rise in prices, diesel’s surge will be a double whammy as diesel prices will soon be passed along to retail channels, further pushing up the cost of goods.”

What’s behind the spike in prices?

Oil prices volatile due to international events

GasBuddy analysts say events across the globe are causing oil prices to engage in a see-saw behavior of volatility. This includes news that the EU will sanction and curtail Russian oil deliveries. The markets are also weighing the global economic situation due to rampant inflation and COVID restrictions in China.

For the second straight start to the week, GasBuddy reports oil prices were trading sharply lower due to the China COVID restrictions. Rising interest rates also sent stocks lower, pulling oil down.

According to Baker Hughes, last week’s U.S. rig count was up 7 rigs to 705, and was 257 rigs higher than a year ago. The Canadian rig count was down by 4 to 91, or 36 more than a year ago.

Crude oil inventories are below average

The Energy Information Administration reports that while U.S. crude oil inventories rose 1.3 million barrels, it remains 15% below the five-year average for this time of year. GasBuddy reports domestic oil production fell 100,000 barrels per day, and gasoline inventory fell 2.2 million barrels in the last week.

GasBuddy also reports gasoline inventories fell the most in the Midwest/Great Lakes and Gulf Coast.

Fuel demand increases

GasBuddy reports U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight rise last week. Nationally, however, weekly gasoline demand fell 1.7% from the prior week. While implied gasoline demand rose, refinery utilization struggled as maintenance season begins to wrap up.

Areas with the highest and lowest gas prices

Highest gas prices

  • California ($5.80)
  • Hawaii ($5.23)
  • Nevada ($5.08).

Lowest gas prices

  • Georgia ($3.82)
  • Oklahoma ($3.89)
  • Arkansas ($3.91).