A winter storm and freezing temperatures prompted refineries to close temporarily.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The end of 2022 came with one more gas price bump to close out the year, as a cross-country, late-December winter storm and accompanying frigid temperatures prompted fuel prices to spike.
Refineries as far south as Texas and the Gulf Coast were forced to shut down temporarily, pushing the national average for a gallon of gas up 12 cents on the week to reach $3.22., according to AAA.
"The cost of gas will likely rise a bit more before this surge stalls due to less expensive oil and a return to seasonal driving patterns," said Andrew Gross, spokesperson for AAA. "But 2022 will go down as a record year with a national annual average of $3.96. According to fuel expert Tom Kloza of OPIS, that's 40 to 50 cents more than the previous peak years of 2011 through 2014."
The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that gas demand rose from 8.7 million barrels per day to 9.3 million barrels per day last week, while total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 3 million to 223 million barrels. This combination of more demand and less supply pushed gas prices higher.
The current national average of $3.22 per gallon is 20 cents less than a month ago and 6 cents less than a year ago.
The top 10 largest weekly increases in the country occurred in Delaware (33 cents per gallon), Florida (30 cents), Maryland (25 cents), Michigan (21 cents), Texas (20 cents), Ohio (20 cents), South Carolina (20 cents), Missouri (20 cents), Alabama (18 cents) and Wisconsin (17 cents).
The top 10 most expensive markets are Hawaii ($5.02 per gallon), California ($4.42), Nevada ($3.97), Washington ($3.86), Oregon ($3.73), Alaska ($3.71), Pennsylvania ($3.63), Washington, D.C. ($3.47), Idaho ($3.43) and New York ($3.41).
At the close of the formal trading session on Dec. 30, West Texas Intermediate increased by $1.86 to reach $80.26. A weaker dollar contributed to rising crude prices, which increased despite the EIA reporting that total domestic commercial crude stocks increased by 800,000 barrels to 419 million barrels, according to AAA. This increase indicates that oil demand could be weakening amid ongoing market concerns that a recession or economic slowdown could take place in 2023.