Gasoline continues to get more expensive across the U.S. even though the beginning of the summer driving season is still more than a month away, according to the survey of prices at the pump by AAA.
With the price of gasoline averaging $2.71 per gallon, prices are at their highest point in nearly three years. On the week, the national average increased a nickel.
“Expensive crude oil prices, unrest in the Middle East, strong domestic demand, record production rates and global oil supply surplus have created the perfect storm to drive spring gas prices toward new heights,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.
Motorists in six west coast states are paying more than $3 per gallon and across the country, only 27% of the nation’s gas stations are selling gas for $2.50 per gallon or less.
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Utah with prices increasing by 13 cents per gallon, Colorado and Idaho where prices increased by 10 cents top this week’s top 10 list with the largest increases in the country. Both Idaho at $2.99 per gallon and Utah at $2.94 are pennies away from reaching the $3 mark, which neither state has seen since summer 2015. Both states also land on the top 10 states list with the most expensive gas prices.
Casselano said the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is not expected to top $3 per gallon.
“Consumers can expect gas prices to increase another 5 to 10 cents this season, but the national average is not expected to reach the $3 mark,” she said.
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Nevertheless, the gas price average this week is 18-cents more than a month ago and 30-cents more than a year ago, according to AAA.
On global markets, oil prices edged higher last week following new concerns about tension in the Middle East. Following the weekend’s air strikes in Syria, it’s likely prices will go higher. Although Syria is not a major oil producer, tension in the country could ripple to other countries in the region and restrict global oil supply flows.
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At the end of last week, the price of oil on New York Mercantile Exchange settled at $67.39 per barrel. Last week, crude oil traded at the highest levels since December 2014 even though domestic crude production in the U.S. hit a new record of 10.53 million barrels per day earlier this month, the Energy Information Agency reported.