Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | June 3, 2013
Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.62 per gallon. This price is fractions of a penny less expensive than one week ago, but it is ten cents more expensive than one month ago and three cents more than the same date last year.
After ten consecutive overnight declines, the national average has now increased for two straight days.
Motorists in a handful of states (W.Va., S.C., Miss., Ala., N.C. and D.C.) have seen prices drop in the last 30 days, however sharply higher prices in the Midwest, Rockies and Pacific Northwest have propelled the national average higher at a time when, in recent years, drivers have enjoyed falling prices. Motorists in 16 states have seen prices rise by more than twenty cents per gallon in the past month and those in seven Midwestern states (N.D., S.D., Iowa, Okla., Neb., Kan., and Mich.) are paying at least thirty cents more. These higher regional prices have been due to continued refinery maintenance and other production issues that led to tight supplies.
The dramatic price increases in these Midwestern states have frustrated motorists, however many of these same drivers have also experienced sizable weekly declines as refinery maintenance draws to a close and supply concerns are alleviated. The primary exception has been three Great Lakes states: Ohio, Ind., and Mich. where gas prices have jumped more than a dime in the last seven days. These isolated higher retail prices have been due to heavy demand for wholesale gasoline in the Chicago market, as the summer driving season gets underway, at the same time that lingering refinery outages from planned and unplanned turnarounds mean lean supplies for this group of states.
While prices may tick higher in the next few days, AAA continues to expect lower prices — both nationally and in the Midwest — as June continues. Prices should drop below a national average of $3.50 per gallon by the end of the month if refineries can transition smoothly from ongoing maintenance to full production.
While national gasoline markets have been driven by regional supply and production issues, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have traded within a narrow $5 range for more than a month. At the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, WTI settled up $1.48 at $93.45 per barrel.