Analysis: Trade deal could impact fuel prices – one way or another

Utah gas prices have risen 8.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.20 per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,171 stations. Gas prices in Utah are 54.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, and stand 4.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Utah is priced at $2.95 per gallon while the most expensive is $4.39 per gallon, a difference of $1.44 per gallon. The lowest price in the state Monday was $2.95 per gallon while the highest was $4.39 per gallon, a difference of $1.44 per gallon. The cheapest price in the entire country today stands at $1.99 per gallon while the most expensive is $5.65 per gallon, a difference of $3.66 per gallon.

The national average price of gasoline fell 3.8 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.85 per gallon now. The national average is up 2.1 cents per gallon from a month ago, yet stands 1.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

“Relief at the pump has indeed begun across the country with a majority of states seeing average prices decline versus a week ago, giving solid evidence the worst is likely behind us,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “However, the potential lightning rod of a U.S./China trade deal is perhaps the only prospect that could bring a return to higher prices.

“For now,” he continued, “just a dozen or so states saw prices rising while most moved lower, including California, but some pain may linger in Washington and Oregon where supply remains tight and prices high. We’ll be watching for refinery utilization rates to rise in this week’s report from the Energy Information Administration. It will be a critical data point on where and when more relief arrives. For most Americans, I think we’ll slowly all join in on the falling prices and by June, the national average may stand 5 to 20 cents lower than today, provided there’s no trade deal with the U.S. and China, whereas a trade deal could lead to a second hurrah at the pump.”