After a long decline that began before Thanksgiving, gasoline prices are moving sharply higher thanks to strong demand as the spring driving begins and signs U.S. oil production is beginning to fall.
Gas prices at the pump have jumped 12 cents per gallon over the past week, which is the largest weekly increase since early March 2015, according to AAA, which also noted prices have increased by 25 cents per gallon over the past month.
The national average has moved higher almost every week for the past three weeks and the current average of $1.96 per gallon is the highest average in two months, AAA said.
Prices increased by double digits due to a decline in gasoline supplies, relatively strong demand and continued refinery maintenance, according to AAA’s analysis.
However, relatively low oil costs, which are also working to slow the production of petroleum in U.S. continue to provide drivers with year-over-year savings at the pump, and consumers are saving 50 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year. Last year at this time, drivers across the U.S. were paying, on average, $2.41 per gallon.
(Twenty automakers commit to standard auto braking by 2022. For more, Click Here.)
In its weekly report, AAA noted prices typically move higher at this time of year as gasoline demand begins to increase and refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, but the refinery maintenance season this year should see lower-than-expected prices for crude oil and ample supplies, which should help keep pump prices relatively low compared to recent years.
California, with an average of $2.59 per gallon, was the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline, and drivers in the state are paying a nickel more per gallon than second-place Hawaii ($2.54). Nevada at $2.20 per gallon, Washington at $2.18 per gallon and Alaska at $2.18 per gallon join in the rankings as the top five most expensive markets for gas.
Conversely, New Jersey at $1.69 per gallon and South Carolina at $1.70 are the nation’s least expensive markets for retail gasoline.
(Click Here for details about Mercedes giving its midsize GLC the AMG treatment.)
Prices in 47 states are up by a nickel or more per gallon this week and averages are up by double digits in 29 states and Washington, D.C. during this period, with the largest weekly increases in Illinois and Missouri, 18 cents per gallon and Virginia and Kentucky where prices have gone up by 17 cents per gallon.
Retail averages have increased in 47 states over the past month and consumers in 35 states have seen prices increase by a dime or more. The biggest jumps in price are seen in the Midwestern states of Minnesota where prices have gone up by 54 cents per gallon, Illinois, where prices are 50 cents per gallon and Oklahoma where prices have gone up by 47 cents per gallon.
Projected reductions in global oil supply and Iran’s slower-than-expected return to the global oil market have raised the price of a barrel of oil. However, oil prices opened this week’s trading session lower on the news that Iran plans to increase oil production significantly.
(To see more about Nissan GT-R debuting at New York Auto Show, Click Here.)
Domestic production declined from year-ago levels for the first time in more than four years, largely due to lower-than-expected crude oil prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Despite this reduction in production, the agency lowered its projections for crude oil prices because domestic production remains more resilient than expected.