Gasoline Rises to One-Week High on Memorial Day Demand

Gasoline futures rose to a one-week high amid speculation that demand will increase leading into the U.S. Memorial Day holiday.

Futures gained 0.5 percent. U.S. demand grew 0.3 percent in the week ended May 2 and was 3.2 percent higher than a year earlier, according to Energy Information Administration data. Consumption traditionally rises as the U.S. nears the summer driving season that starts over Memorial Day, which this year falls on May 26. Prices at the pump are the lowest in four weeks, according to AAA.

“Lower prices at the pump are going to inspire demand,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

June-delivery gasoline rose 1.56 cents to $2.9302 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement in seven days. Volume was 15 percent above the 100-day average.

The Energy Department will probably report tomorrow that U.S. gasoline supplies rose 300,000 barrels last week, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg. Flynn forecast a 2 million-barrel decline.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI crude narrowed 45 cents to $21.37 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent, the European benchmark, fell 17 cents to $13.83.

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.8 cent to $3.644 a gallon, the 15th consecutive decline, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA. Prices are 6.5 cents higher than a year ago.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for June delivery rose 2.55 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.944 a gallon on volume that was 42 percent below the 100-day average. It was the highest settlement in two weeks.

Supplies of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, probably rose 500,000 barrels last week, according to the survey.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI crude narrowed 4 cents to $21.95 a barrel while the motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude rose 24 cents to $14.41.

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