Gas prices have increased sharply due to more expensive crude oil costs and the start of refinery maintenance season. Gas prices typically increase this time of year as refineries conduct maintenance, which can limit fuel production. Rising crude oil costs have also made it more expensive for refineries to produce gasoline, which has contributed to higher pump prices.
Even with the national average trending higher, ample gasoline supplies and lower crude oil costs than in recent years should prevent prices from rising as high as in recent memory. In addition, severe cold weather, particularly in the Northeast and Midwestern United States, may limit driving and gasoline demand in the near term. Barring any major disruptions in supply, AAA anticipates drivers will continue to pay below $3 per gallon throughout 2015.
With prices increasing across the country, a shrinking number of states are registering an average below $2 per gallon, only Utah ($1.93) Idaho ($1.94) and Montana ($1.97) remain below this threshold. Hawaii ($3.03) continues to lead the market and is the only state with an average above $3 per gallon. California ($2.80), Alaska ($2.57), New York ($2.46) and Nevada ($2.44) round out the nation’s top five most expensive markets for retail gasoline.
Weekly comparisons continue to show that nearly all drivers are paying more to refuel their vehicles. The price at the pump has inched higher in 48 states, with 33 of these states registering increases of a nickel or more per gallon week-over-week. Motorists in California (+15 cents), Arizona (+12 cents), Oregon (+12 cents) and Delaware (+11 cents) are experiencing the sharpest increases over this period. On the other end of the spectrum, the average price at the pump has fallen in Alaska (-5 cents), Hawaii (-2 cents) and Washington, D.C. (fractions of a penny) versus one week ago. Two-week price comparisons also reflect overall increases in the price at the pump. The average price has jumped in the same 48 states and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (41) registering double-digit premiums versus two weeks ago. California (+34 cents) and Oregon (+25 cents) are registering the largest increases in price over this period.
Consumers in 42 states are paying higher prices month-over-month, and the price is up by a dime or more in the bulk (33) of these states. Twelve states are posting increases of a quarter or more, led by the mid-continent states of Michigan (+36 cents), Kansas (+35 cents), Illinois (+34 cents), and Missouri (+33). The price at the pump is lower than one month ago in just eight states and Washington, D.C., headlined by Hawaii (-31 cents) and Alaska (-25 cents), where consumers are saving the most per gallon in comparison to one month ago.
Despite recently higher prices, year-over-year comparisons still reflect savings nationwide. Drivers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving at the pump, and the average price is down by $1 or more in 46 states and Washington, D.C.
OPEC’s decision not to act as a market-stabilizer is beginning impact global energy development, as companies in countries with more expensive production costs have reportedly begun curtailing investments and employment. The global price of Brent crude rallied this past week and closed above the $60 per barrel benchmark for the first time in 2015. This represents an increase of more than 30 percent since mid-January and is reflective of the global oil market’s overall volatility.
At the close of Friday’s formal trading on the NYMEX, domestic WTI crude settled at $52.78 per barrel, up $1.57 on the day.
Information Posted from AAA