The slide in gas prices grew steeper this week, as the statewide average price for a gallon of regular unleaded fell 6 cents to $2.45 a gallon, AAA reported Thursday.
That price is 31 cents lower than the price during this time last year. At the same time, the U.S. average price fell 4 cents on the week to $2.78 a gallon — 16 cents less than in 2018.
Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland are paying the most on average at $2.70, while drivers in McAllen are paying the least at $2.25 per gallon.
Closer to home, the average price in Dallas fell a dime to $2.41, while in Fort Worth-Arlington, the price at the pump dropped 9 cents, also to $2.41 a gallon.
In Denton, GasBuddy.com on Thursday listed the lowest available price as $2.22, found at both the Buc-ee’s located off southbound Interstate 35E near Brinker Road and the Sam’s Club station off University Drive.
This year, the most expensive West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices, which AAA Texas tracks to understand impact on pump prices, have ranged between $65 and $66 per barrel. Most recently, WTI crude fell as low as $51 per barrel. That is cheaper than last summer, when prices ranged between $65 and $73 per barrel.
The price of crude is a driving factor when it comes to retail gasoline prices, accounting for nearly 60% of the price drivers see at the pump year-round.
While crude prices have been cheaper this year, AAA Texas is monitoring a number of circumstances that could cause crude oil market prices to increase. This includes reductions in global and domestic crude supply, exports and U.S. gasoline demand.
For domestic gas demand, summer 2019 has been forecast to reach some of the highest levels on record in the U.S., AAA reported. Meanwhile, domestic gasoline stocks are at their lowest level going into June since 2016.
If demand rises while gasoline stocks remain low, pump prices could see modest increases, especially if supply is tight in local markets. But demand could fall, as seen in recent weeks due to inclement weather from the Rockies to the Midwest and South.