Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | April 22, 2013
(WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013) Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.52. This price is a penny less expensive than one week ago but, it is 16 cents less than one month ago and 35 cents less than one year ago. After declining for 45 of 51 days the national average has now increased for three straight days. Despite this recent string of rising prices, the national average remains 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79 on Feb. 27. In 2011 the national average for regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.98 on May 5. In 2012 the price peaked at $3.94 on April 5 and 6.
While motorists in every state but three (Utah, Idaho and Wyo.) are paying less at the pump than one month ago, those in some Midwestern states have seen prices climb sharply in the last week following supply concerns from heavy rains in the region. Prices in 43 states and Washington D.C. are lower than one week ago, compared to four Great Lakes states, which have seen the average price increase more than a dime per gallon (Ill. 10 cents, Mich. 24 cents, Ohio 28 cents and Ind. 28 cents).
The recent storms and resulting power outages provided the catalyst for higher retail prices in the Midwest, however analysts had warned that the region was susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo maintenance and make the transition to summer-blend gasoline production. Gas stations in much of the country must make this retail switch by June 1, however refineries shift to making summer blend in March and April to meet a May 1 production deadline. During this switch regional production is reduced and supplied markets are more susceptible to unexpected disruptions, as was the case during the recent storms in the Midwest.
The primary factors driving retail gas prices lower in recent weeks have been low demand, continued disappointing economic news and lower crude oil prices. This slide in crude oil saw Wednesday’s settlement price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, the traditional U.S. benchmark, fall to $86.68 per barrel, which set a new 2013 low. While prices have recovered slightly, they continue to support lower gas prices for motorists. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up 80 cents at $88.81 per barrel.