Man pumping gas

Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | July 15, 2013

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, July 15, 2013) Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.61 per gallon.  Although this price is fractions of a penny less than one month ago, it is 14 cents more expensive than one week ago and 22 cents higher than the same day last year. The national average has now increased for eight days in a row, but remains 18 cents lower than the peak price this year of $3.79 on February 27.

Gas prices appear to have hit a summer-low of $3.47 on July 7, near the same date as the seasonal low price in recent years. In 2011 the national average bottomed at $3.54 per gallon on June 30. In 2012 it reached as low as $3.33 on July 2. The national average rose 17 cents per gallon in July 2011 and 16 cents in July 2012. The price this year has already jumped 12 cents in the first 15 days of July.

While motorists across the country are feeling the squeeze of rising pump prices, the national average is still a full 50 cents below the all-time daily high of $4.11 per gallon on July 17, 2008.

Midwestern-Roller-Coaster-7-15-13Drivers in every state except Colorado, Utah and Idaho are paying more for gasoline today than one week ago. Motorists in the Midwest are seeing the most dramatic increase, led by a spike of 32 cents in Indiana and 30 cents in Michigan. These Midwestern increases are just the latest chapter in what has been a historically volatile several months for drivers in the region. Prices soared in late May and early June due to planned and unplanned refinery maintenance, including new all-time high prices recorded in North Dakota and Minnesota. Prices came plummeting back to earth at the end of June as refinery issues were resolved and maintenance was completed, only to rise again sharply in recent weeks because of new refinery issues, continued tight supplies and higher crude oil prices.

The increases have not been as dramatic in the Northeast, but pump prices have marched higher for drivers in that region as well. Those increases are attributable to higher global crude oil prices and reported production issues at both Irving’s Saint John refinery in Canada and Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ refinery in Philadelphia, along with planned maintenance at the Phillips 66 Bayway refinery in New Jersey.

Top-10-Highest-State-Avgs-7-15-13

As noted, expensive crude oil costs have pressured gasoline prices higher across the country.  Events and unrest in Egypt have been a primary factor in surging oil prices. While Egypt is not considered a major oil producer, its proximity to the strategically important Suez Canal and major oil producing nations raise concern of a potential disruption to supply should violence escalate or spread. Adding to the bullish sentiment for crude are U.S. inventories falling more than 20 million barrels in two weeks, which is the largest two-week drawdown in more than three decades, according to the Department of Energy. Pending an unforeseen market moving development, it seems likely that consumers will face increased retail prices in the coming weeks.

The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 37 cents higher today at $106.32 per barrel. This price is just 30 cents shy of the 15-month high set last Wednesday.

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