After creeping up near $2.50 a gallon, local gasoline prices dropped sharply at the beginning of the week.
Average retail gasoline prices in Illinois rose 3.2 cents per gallon last week, averaging $2.46 per gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 4,378 gas outlets in Illinois. This compares with the national average that has increased 0.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.52, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.
While local prices have been in the $2.45 range for several days, regular gasoline was pumping for $2.33 to $2.34 a gallon in Robinson at presstime today. That compares to about $2.45 in January, and $2.10 to $2.11 a year ago. Diesel today ranged widely in the area, from $2.71 per gallon in Casey to $2.99 in Vincennes. In January, it was $2.85 a gallon here.
Across the Wabash, where higher gasoline taxes went into effect last year, regular was averaging $2.44 today in the Terre Haute market and mid-grade was at $2.73 a gallon, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. That compares to $2.54 and $2.84 respectively a month ago.
Other area prices reported today include $2.33 in Lawrenceville and Olney, $2.34 in Bridgeport, $2.43 in Shelburn, $2.44 in Martinsville, $2.46 in Casey and $2.49 in Sullivan.
The lowest gas price in Illinois today could be found in Plano and Dwight, at $2.14 to $2.,15 per gallon. That's according to the illinoisgasprices.com website, which relies on motorist reports.
Prices Sunday were 6.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and 7.4 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 8.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 21.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"Despite the rough ride crude oil received in the latter half of last week, gasoline prices managed a rally, pushing the national average for the week into positive territory for the first time in a month," Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said Sunday. This confirmed what was noted here last week; March comes in like a lamb but goes out like a lion.
Locally, Plains Marketing LP was reporting crude at $55.50 a barrel today, compared to $56.50 in January and $47 a year ago.
"Oil aside, there are early indications that gasoline prices are about to strengthen helped by a noticeable number of refineries out for maintenance and a stronger demand outlook than we saw last year," he said. "Geopolitics, trade skirmishes, growing fuel exports and the ever sensitive relationship between oil and the value of the greenback are all factors that are likely to help the gasoline bulls as temperatures and global political intrigue rise in apparent unison."
According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices on March 5 in Illinois have ranged widely over the last five years:
$2.39 per gallon in 2017, $1.87 per gallon in 2016, $2.44 per gallon in 2015, $3.72 per gallon in 2014 and $3.85 per gallon in 2013.