The average price of gasoline is up this week across all regions, leading to a national average of $2.702. This trend is likely to continue as seasonal influences continue to drive gas prices upward in the months ahead.
The two main factors for this trend are: maintenance season for American oil refineries and summer blended fuels. The oil refineries typically begin maintenance season in March. These summer blends are more expensive because they are designed to meet stricter pollution standards between April and September.
The American Automobile Association’s most recent Fuel Gauge Report details that shut-downs to conduct this work on refineries, should they occur, may cause an up-tick in oil demand. Seasonal demand tends to drive retail oil prices during this time of year. Also, April’s wholesale gasoline contracts have been trading 10 to 12 cents higher than that of March. If this trading trend continues, consumers can expect the price of gas at the pump to soar.
For the week of March 1, the Gulf Coast has managed to hold on to the nation’s lowest average, at $2.596 up from $2.533 a week ago. Following just cents above this average is the Rocky Mountain region at $2.631. That is up by $0.014 compared to a week ago.
Seeing an increase of $0.035 from the week-ago period, the Midwest is at an average of $2.640 per retail gallon. The East Coast states’ average has increased by $0.042 to $2.697 this week. The West Coast continues to top the average of all regions at $2.937. This is up by $0.071 compared to last week. One of the more expensive states in this region, California, comes in at $2.999 this week, up from $0.081 the week prior.
What do you think, should American oil refineries have control over demand by shutting down for maintenance during this high traffic season? Share your thoughts below…
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All figures are obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration