“The Rockies region is doing very well as they are insulated from the higher price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil and can capitalize on the less expensive crude from Canada. On the last day of 2012, WTI closed at $91.82 per barrel while the Canadian crudes averaged $72.11 on the same day,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst, GasBuddy.com.
“From a supply perspective the Rockies gasoline inventory has increased by 17% in the past month while the U.S. inventory increased by 11% over the same period. At the same time the region’s refinery output during the month of December was 95.2%, while nationwide (including the Rocky Mountain region) refineries operated at 90%. Today’s report from the Dept. of Energy has the region’s refinery utilization rate at 96.9%, so it really doesn’t get much better than that,” he noted.
“Consequently, 60% of gas stations (2,848 out of 4,712) in the Rocky Mountain region have gas below $3 per gallon. Only 24 percent of stations in the rest of the U.S. are below $3,” said Gregg Laskoski, another senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. (For all 50 states, 26.1% are below $3 today.)
How long will the party last? “The logistics of the region create a lag effect that keeps gasoline price trends there about two weeks behind what we see in the rest of the country,” says DeHaan.
GasBuddy operates over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.