With the summer driving season fast approaching, the price of gasoline continues to climb, pushing the average price beyond $2 per gallon, according to a new report by AAA.
Despite increasing for 36 of the past 41 days, the national average is at its lowest price point for this same date since 2009, according to AAA.
“The average price of $2.06 per gallon represents an increase of two cents on the week and 24 cents on the month. Pump prices continue to reflect year-over-year discounts, and drivers are saving 34 cents per gallon versus this same date last year,” the organization noted.
Meanwhile, despite the continuing demand for larger vehicles, the average fuel economy or window-sticker value of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in March 2016 was 25.3 mpg—unchanged from the revised value for February 2016, the University of Michigan reported.
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Fuel economy is down 0.5 mpg from the peak reached in August 2014, but still up 5.2 mpg since October 2007 when the university began keeping records. In short, the mileage rating for these bigger vehicles continues to improve enough to keep the number steady.
However, the run of below-$2-per-gallon gas may be over, at least for the national average, for some time as refineries are in full swing with its summer-blend gasoline.
AAA said that with crude oil remaining relatively part of the price increase at the pump over the last month has been driven by switchover to aforementioned seasonal gasoline at refineries has already taken place, and this special blend of fuel has begun to make its way to fuel terminals in many parts of the country.
Drivers in California at $2.79 per gallon are paying the nation’s highest averages at the pump. Gas prices in the Golden State moved higher due to regional supply challenges, though these issues reportedly have begun to ease, and prices in the region may soon recover as a result.
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In contrast, motorists in Oklahoma, at $1.82 per gallon, and South Carolina at $1.85 are paying the lowest prices at the pump nationally.
Pump prices are likely to continue to fluctuate in the near term due to imbalances between supply and demand. Gas prices are up in 37 states with the largest jump in prices coming in Michigan where prices increased by 11 cents per gallon and Arizona where prices increased by 8 cents per gallon.
AAA’s analysts noted that oversupply continues to characterize the global oil market, and prospects for an agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to freeze output seem increasingly unlikely as both Iran and Russia significantly increased production last month, AAA reported.
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However, U.S. production, which according to the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fell for the fourth consecutive week. Additionally, the number of oil rigs operating in the U.S. also declined.