Motorists continued to get a break at the gas pump this week as retail prices retreated another five cents a gallon nationwide.
The national average price of self-serve regular today is $3.555 per gallon, down from $3.611 last Friday, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Survey. Fuel prices are 20 cents a gallon lower than they were a month ago.
For the first time in 11 weeks, U.S. crude oil stockpiles declined in the previous week, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The reason was a decline in imports and a surge in refinery output, which bodes well for gasoline supplies. Gasoline supplies rose by 3.35 million barrels.
Declines in prices at the pump this week were spread across the country but the lowest prices are still clustered in the southeastern states.
A heat map of average prices shows that the highest prices remain in the western U.S. Avery Ash, AAA's manager of federal relations, notes refinery issues have resulted in sharply higher prices in that region over the spring.
"While the national average has declined steadily for the nearly two months since the 2012 to-date peak price of $3.94 on April 5, supply issues west of the Rocky Mountains have kept upward pressure on prices in that region," Ash said. "Since May 4 retail gas prices in ten states and the District of Columbia have fallen more than 30 cents per gallon, while prices in many western states have increased during the same period."
The states with the highest gas prices this week are:
The states with the lowest gas prices this week are: