Have Gasoline Prices Hit a Bottom?

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Gasoline pump prices are starting to tick higher after nearly four months of steady declines. In the past week, the price for a gallon of regular gas has inched up two cents and the national average price stands at $2.06 on Monday.

That is still $1.22 a gallon less than the year-ago price, but three cents more than the recent low of $2.03 reached on January 26, according to AAA. Since their 52-week high of $3.70 gallon last April, gas prices have dropped by $1.64 a gallon.

AAA attributes the rise to the beginning of the traditional spring maintenance at U.S. refineries and the start of the switch to producing summer-grade fuel. Stabilizing crude oil prices have also contributed to the increase in the pump price.

More than half of U.S. gas stations are selling regular gasoline for less than $2 a gallon. The most common price is $1.999 a gallon. A week ago more than 60% of gas stations across the country were selling gas for less than $2 a gallon.

The states with the lowest prices are Idaho ($1.85), Texas ($1.87), Oklahoma ($1.87), South Carolina ($1.87) and Utah ($1.87).

The five states with the highest prices are Hawaii ($3.11), Alaska ($2.64), California ($2.45), New York ($2.39) and Vermont ($2.30).

AAA noted that it is not unusual for gasoline prices to rise by as much as 30 to 50 cents a gallon in the period from early February to mid-spring due to lower refinery production as maintenance is performed. Over the past five years, the average increase has been 22 cents a gallon. AAA also said that it did not expect the national average price to rise above $3 a gallon in 2015.

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