Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | February 11, 2013
(WASHINGTON, February 11, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.59. This price is six cents more expensive than one week ago, 28 cents more than one month ago and eight cents more than the average price one year ago. Today’s price is the highest on record for this calendar day. The national average has increased for 25 consecutive days, which is the longest streak since February and March 2012.
Since mid-January the national price at the pump has been propelled higher by somewhat more expensive crude oil, but more notably by regional refinery issues and the approaching switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Unlike recent years (Libya in 2011 and Iran in 2012), escalating geopolitical tensions overseas have not been a major contributing factor to the early-year price increase. Without a similar “risk premium” built into futures prices or new market-moving news, AAA expects that the increases to the national average will slow as temporary production concerns are addressed. Based on this expectation, the national average is likely to peak this spring at a lower price than in 2011 ($3.98 on May 5) and 2012 ($3.94 on April 5 and 6).
Prices in every state have increased over the last week, led by jumps in California and the Mountain States: Nevada (18 cents), Colorado (15 cents), California (14 cents), Arizona (14 cents) and Utah (12 cents). The price of gasoline in California rose above $4.00 per gallon on Friday, marking the first time since November 3, when California was last above this level, that a state average in the continental U.S. has exceeded this threshold. Motorists in Hawaii still pay the highest price at the pump at $4.24 per gallon.
There were some reports of long lines at the pump as drivers filled up their cars in advance of winter storm “Nemo,” which blanketed much of the Northeast with snow over the weekend; however the ultimate short-term impact on regional retail prices was minimal as expected. The ultimate impact of the storm is likely to be one of demand destruction, as the snow continues to keep drivers off of the road in the densely populated Northeast. Traders are likely to keep a close eye on demand numbers when they are reported in the coming weeks.
After declining slightly to end last week, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices again moved up today settling $1.31 higher at $97.03 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.