A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentuckians see early-summer savings at the pump; average price for regular unleaded gas down a dime

Kentuckians hitting the road for summer vacations are finding some good news at the pump.

The average price for regular unleaded has dropped a dime since last week, settling at $2.54. Today’s average gas price in Kentucky is 25 cents less than it was a year ago.

In Lexington, prices dropped 16 cents on the week, landing at $2.55. Prices for the metro averaged $2.69 one year ago.

Nearly every state’s gas price average is lower than a week ago, a month ago and a year ago. Today’s national average is $2.74, which is seven-cents cheaper than last week, 13-cents less than a month ago and 18 cents cheaper than a year ago.

“Refinery utilization in the United States is at its highest level since early January, resulting in overall gasoline stocks at healthy levels to meet robust summer demand. Prices are dropping due to lower-cost crude oil and at the same time, U.S. supply is keeping pace with demand,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, manager, public and government affairs. “The national average is poised to fall to at least $2.70 this week—an indication that pump prices may be even cheaper this summer.”

For the last three weeks, demand has remained relatively robust at 9.4 million barrels per day. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks have increased weekly, with total inventories at nearly 4 million barrels ahead of the five-year average, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

Clcik to enlarge

Gas prices lower across the commonwealth

Gas prices fell in most metro areas of Kentucky, including Lexington which saw a 16-cent drop and the Elizabethtown-Fort Knox area which saw prices fall a dime in the past week. Most areas in southwestern Kentucky are trending lower than counties in eastern Kentucky, although there are some exceptions.

Central U.S. sees some of the largest declines

On the week, the top five states in the country with the largest declines hail from the Great Lakes and Central region: Ohio (-21 cents), Indiana (-17 cents), Michigan (-15 cents), Illinois (-11 cents), and Kentucky (-10 cents). 

Gas prices are cheaper across the region and range from $2.89 in Illinois – which is the 13th most expensive state average in the country – to $2.49 in Missouri, which is the ninth cheapest state average in the country.

Gas prices dropped alongside a build in gasoline stocks.

According to EIA data the region saw inventory build by 300,000 barrels to total 48.1 million, which is below the five-year average of 50.8 million. 

Refinery utilization slid back a percent to 83 percent and is the lowest utilization rate for the week ending May 31 among all five regions in the country.

Despite the deficit in stocks and low refinery utilization rate, gas prices are expected to remain stable during the summer in the region, though some states may see weekly spikes–up or down–due to the typical volatility in the region.

AAA National Gas Price Comparison (click to enlarge).

Quick stats on the nation

•The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+11 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), Florida (-7 cents), Illinois (-5 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Delaware (-4 cents), Mississippi (-4 cents), Indiana (+3 cents) and Georgia (-3 cents).

•The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Louisiana ($2.45), South Carolina ($2.45), Alabama ($2.45), Mississippi ($2.45), Arkansas ($2.50), Tennessee ($2.54), Missouri ($2.54), Oklahoma ($2.56), Texas ($2.57) and Kansas ($2.58).

AAA offers these tips to motorists to save at the pump:

•Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.

•Anticipate your stops. When approaching a red light, let your foot off the gas as early as possible.

•In summer, drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.

•Use air conditioning. Today’s air conditioners create less drag on the engine than driving with the windows open.

•Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.

•Keep the air filter clean. Clogged filters reduce fuel economy and increase exhaust emissions.

•Drive the speed limit.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 600,000 members in Kentucky.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  

For more information, visit www.aaa.com.


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