Gas Prices: AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report | April 7, 2014
(WASHINGTON – April 7, 2014) Today’s national average price at the pump is $3.58 per gallon. This is two cents more expensive than one week ago and nine cents more than one month ago, but it is still two cents per gallon less expensive than the same date last year. While the national average remains below the same date 2013, the discount is the smallest since January 20. Motorists have enjoyed a year-over-year savings at the pump for 80 consecutive days, but that discount could turn to a premium before the week is through. On April 7 last year prices had fallen for 33 of 39 days, today prices have increased for 53 of 59 days.
The national average continues to edge higher, although it remains at the low-end of AAA’s forecast to begin the year. Each spring refiners must switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1. Leading up to this date seasonal refinery maintenance and the changeover to the new blend increases the chances of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in the area supplied by the impacted facility. Peak pump prices are likely in sight for many drivers across the country, however temporary spikes are not out of the question for motorists in a region that might be affected by an unexpected disruption. These sorts of issues have been minimal so far this spring, but the coming weeks will bear watching.
Pump prices in 36 states and Washington D.C. have moved higher over the last week, led by increases in the Southeast and Gulf Coast. These increases have been supported by just the type of maintenance outlined above, which has resulted in a number of Texas refineries being offline for planned or unplanned maintenance: Valero’s refinery in Sunray; Alon’s refinery in Big Springs; and Phillips 66’s refinery in Old Ocean. Despite the consistent increases nationwide, California and Hawaii remain the only states above the $4 per gallon threshold.
News that Libyan rebels have agreed to reopen two of four closed oil ports in that country added downward pressure to oil prices today. Following an eight-month closure, the two ports will return a combined 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil supply to the global market. Despite this news, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil continues to hover near or above $100 per barrel. WTI settled at $100.44 per barrel, down 70 cents on the day. Even with the slight decline, today’s WTI price is $7 per barrel higher than the same time last year.