Energy Economy

Gas Prices Continue to Soar, All States See Increases

The price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose by 6.5 cents last week to post a national average price of $2.62 a gallon. The increase marks the sixth straight week of rising pump prices.

The most common pump price for regular gasoline is $2.49 a gallon. The average at the highest-priced 10% of gas stations rose to $3.34 per gallon, while the nation’s lowest-priced 10% of stations averaged $2.26 per gallon. Just 10 of more than the 150,000 U.S. gas stations reported gas still priced under $2 per gallon as of Friday. In January, 44% of the country’s gas stations were selling gas at less than $2 a gallon.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, commented:

Gasoline prices have increased in all fifty states in the last week as refineries continue working toward cleaner, more expensive gasoline and as oil prices have continued creeping higher. There shouldn’t be any surprises that prices continue to migrate higher given the warnings in the past few months, though that doesn’t make it any easier for motorists to digest higher gas prices. Unfortunately, as seasonal issues continue to weigh on markets along with higher oil prices, it’s likely we’ll continue to be in this pattern for at least a few more weeks.

Crude oil prices remained mostly flat last week, while pump prices continued to reflect rising oil prices as distributors delivered gasoline from higher-priced crude to U.S. gas stations. U.S. stockpiles of crude oil, gasoline and diesel fuel all fell last week, reflecting the effect of the spring turnaround from winter-grade (cheaper) fuel to summer-grade fuel.

Prices rose by more than 10% last week in seven states: Arizona, California, Missouri, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and South Carolina. Refinery outages in California have driven the average price of a gallon of gas to $3.50.

Gasoline prices are more than 22 cents a gallon higher compared with the month-ago price of around $2.41 a gallon. Compared with last year’s price for the same date, the price is up just over two cents a gallon.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery traded down about 0.9% late Monday morning at $58.50, while Brent for May delivery traded at $66.77, down about 0.4%. The price differential (spread) between front-month WTI and Brent crude is now around $8.27 a barrel.

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