The latest state government report finds Iowa fuel prices have held steady for the past week. Harold Hommes, an energy analyst for the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says this kind of stability in pump prices is rare around a major summer holiday.
“Some would argue they are still at fairly lofty levels,” Hommes says, “but we are running about 25, 30 cents under prices of a year ago.”
Unleaded gasoline was selling for the average price of $3.55 a gallon in Iowa on July 1. That’s down a penny from the previous week and up a dime from one year ago. The national average this past Tuesday was $3.67 a gallon.
“There’s still some downward pressure, I think, on refined gasoline prices,” Hommes says. “I always caution that barring unforeseen international events that we have to be aware of, but right now inventories seem to be adequate. Refineries are all pretty much up and running. Only those down were scheduled to be down, so we are in pretty good shape overall.”
The price of gasoline usually goes up before Memorial Day, the holiday that’s considered the start of the summer driving season in the Midwest, but prices didn’t go up until early June, by about 7-10 cents a gallon.
“Hardly much that we could call it a spike at all,” Hommes says.
Demand for gasoline is down compared to this time last year.
“There’s little incentive, then, to raise prices when demand is off a little bit, so there’s a fair amount of downward pressure,” Hommes says. “I’m not looking for any significant hikes through, basically, the balance of the summer.”
Diesel fuel was selling for the average price of $3.76 a gallon in Iowa on Tuesday. Diesel prices in Iowa were about a nickle-a-gallon lower a year ago.