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Petroleum Prices Soar to 30-Month High

Good news about U.S. jobs pushes pump prices higher.

by on Apr.04, 2011

Oil prices are at a 30-month high -- and consumers are feeling the pinch.

Is the tank half empty or half full?  The good news is that the U.S. job market is showing strong signs of recovery.  The bad news is that American motorists will be paying more for gas as a result.

The prospects of a strong U.S. economy leading to increased demand for oil is only complicating the impact of the crisis in Libya, helping drive petroleum prices to around $108 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, this morning.  Traders saw prices for low-sulfur Ice Brent Cruise near the $120 mark, both 30-month highs.

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For motorists, that’s translating into pain at the pump, much of the country now paying more than at any time since September 2008. And with spring finally reaching much of the U.S., the figures could continue climbing.

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded paid for in cash is now $3.64, according to the AAA.  That’s up 7 cents in just a week.  But some markets have seen significantly bigger increases.  The AAA Michigan reports fuel costs rose 15 cents over the last week, to $3.75 a gallon.


Gas Prices Surge to $4

Is the $5 gallon on the horizon?

by on Mar.07, 2011

A gas station in Santa Monica, CA.

Motorists in several parts of the country, notably including Southern California, have seen fuel prices surge past the $4 mark, with many industry observers predicting the country could soon see costs surge past the record figures set during the mid-2008 fuel scare.

With the situation only getting worse in Libya, one of the world’s largest sources of petroleum, analysts are now speculating not just if, but when pump prices in the U.S. could tip the $5 mark.  Economists are also worrying what the rapid rise might mean to an American economy that still seems fragile after one of the worst recessions in more than half a century.

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As of Friday, the Lundberg Survey found that U.S. fuel prices had risen 32.7 cents over the previous two weeks, to an average of $3.51 a gallon for self-serve regular.  That’s the biggest jump the American market has experienced since a 38-cent run-up between August and September 2005, according to the Lundberg Survey, which follows fuel prices in the continental U.S.  That prior record was the result of the damage done to Gulf Coast refineries by Hurricane Katrina.

“This time around, the damage comes not from nature but from people,” said Trilby Lundberg, referring to the Libyan crisis and the broader uncertainty about Mideast oil supplies as the democracy battle rages across northern Africa.