Austin-area gas prices dip slightly, AAA says

February 07, 2019 - 9:12 am

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- Austin-area drivers are paying a little less at the pump this week, according to the latest numbers from AAA Texas.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel in the Austin area is $1.97 this week, down two cents from last week and 38 cents lower than a year ago. Across the state, the average is flat this week at $1.98 and also 38 cents lower than a year ago.

Drivers in Midland continue to face some of the state's highest gas prices at $2.42 a gallon, while Brownsville drivers are paying the least on average at $1.89.

Nationwide, the average price jumped two cents to $2.28.

The national gas price average increased as the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest demand rate reflected summer-like numbers. For the week ending Jan 25, the EIA reported U.S. gasoline demand at 9.6 million barrels per day. The last time the rate was this high was during the 2018 Labor Day weekend. One reason for the jump could be the extreme cold weather seen in many areas of the country last week.

"A winter storm packing very cold temperatures last week probably caused drivers, especially in the mid-west, to fill-up before its arrival. That kind of preparation more than likely drove up demand. This is similar to what we see prior to hurricanes," said Daniel Armbruster with AAA Texas. "Now that the storm has passed, demand is likely to fall more in-line with typical February estimates."

The majority of South and Southeast states are seeing gas prices decline or remain flat. Two likely contributing factors to the fluctuation is this week’s substantial, nearly 4 million barrel draw in gasoline stocks combined with refinery maintenance season. With the draw, total stock levels fell to 86.6 million barrels, but continue to measure at a year-over-year surplus.

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