U.S. Energy Information Administration logo

Today in Energy

January 7, 2015

U.S. gasoline prices end 2014 at lowest levels since mid-May 2009

graph of regular retail gasoline price ranges in 2014, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

Across the country, retail prices for regular grade gasoline reached the lowest levels in four years primarily as a result of falling crude prices in the second half of 2014. As of December 12, the weekly retail price for regular gasoline in each city for which EIA collects data was below $3.00 per gallon (gal) for the first time since February 2010. Each city recorded its lowest 2014 gasoline price on the last Monday of the year.

Each Monday, EIA collects and publishes data on retail gasoline and diesel fuel prices for multiple locations across the country. Retail gasoline prices are published for ten cities, nine states, five regions, and the United States as a whole. Gasoline prices across the country reflect differences in gasoline quality, taxes, and the characteristics of regional market supply and demand balances.

East Coast (Boston, New York, and Miami). In New York and Boston, regular retail gasoline prices reached yearly highs during the summer driving season in late June and early July, respectively. Gasoline prices in Miami peaked earlier in the year during April, which is typical for that city. Average prices along the East Coast moved within a range between $2.44/gal and $3.71/gal over the course of the year.

Midwest (Chicago and Cleveland). Retail gasoline prices in the Midwest peaked at $3.71/gal in mid-June and fell to a low of $2.09/gal on December 29. The Midwest covers a large geographic area consisting of multiple semi-connected markets. Prices in Chicago were slightly above and prices in Cleveland were slightly below the regional average in all weeks during 2014.

Gulf Coast (Houston). Gulf Coast retail gasoline prices tend to be the lowest in the country. The region is home to half of the U.S. refining capacity and produces substantially more gasoline than it consumes. Gasoline taxes in the region are among the lowest in the country. In all weeks of 2014, retail gasoline prices in Houston were the lowest of the ten cities for which EIA collects data. Houston prices ranged from a high of $3.47/gal in late April to a low of $2.13/gal on December 29.

Rocky Mountains (Denver). Denver retail gasoline prices were the second lowest in the country for 19 weeks of 2014 and third lowest for an additional 17 weeks. As was the case in the Gulf Coast, for much of the year, Rocky Mountain refineries operated at high utilization rates to produce diesel fuel, which also resulted in additional gasoline supplies. At $2.19/gal as of December 29, Denver gasoline prices were at their lowest level since May 12, 2009.

West Coast (Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle). Gasoline prices on the West Coast tend to be higher than in other parts of the country because of stricter fuel specifications in California, the region's relative isolation from other markets, and higher taxes. Prices on the West Coast were the last prices in the United States to drop below $3.00/gal. Since June 23, prices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have been the highest retail gasoline prices of the ten cities for which EIA collects data. During 2014, retail gasoline prices in California moved within wider ranges than prices in Washington. The spreads between low and high prices in San Francisco and Los Angeles were $1.52/gal and $1.62/gal, respectively, compared to a spread of $1.37/gal in Seattle.

Principal contributor: Hannah Breul