July gasoline prices rose the most in a dozen years according to the AAA Monthly Gas Price Report. The $0.17/gallon increase (5.1%) is the largest increase for the month of July at least since the AAA began keeping records in 2000. The AAA spokesman noted:
Higher global oil prices and increased demand for gasoline during the busy summer driving season were the primary factors that sent pump prices higher in July.
The national average gasoline price hit a summertime low of $3.326/gallon on July 2nd and have risen to an average of $3.50/gallon on July 31st. AAA expects gasoline prices to remain relatively flat or “experience a small increase” in August. Gasoline prices are expected to fall after the Labor Day holiday as the summer driving season draws to a close.
The following chart from AAA shows the distribution of gasoline prices throughout the US. The one anomaly appears to be North Dakota, where gasoline prices are among the highest in the US, on a par with Alaska, Hawaii, California, and New York. Gasoline is expensive in North Dakota because everything is now expensive in the one state that has an unemployment rate below 4% and an oil boom that is trying desperately to get bigger. This is the ‘boom’ part of the boom or bust economies built on resource extraction.