Current Gasoline Prices to Stop Increasing as Summer Ends

Summer’s end may mean that the current gasoline price increases may stop for a while. The $3.843 a gallon average gasoline price today reflects a gain of 1.5 cents from its rate during the previous day, its largest gain in two weeks. Last July 1, the average prices at the pump moved up by 50 cents.

Drivers in almost eight states are seeing higher than $4 a gallon gasoline prices today, said the AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. Even Mississippi and South Carolina, with the lowest current gasoline prices at $3.59 and $3.60, respectively, are still higher by over 60 cents compared to its level in the early parts of the summer.

However, relief is almost coming. Refiners may soon shift to selling cheaper winter blend gas from more expensive summer blend gas in order to lessen pollution. The next four to five days may be the finale of the high gasoline price season since price drops will begin in the coming week.

For the current week, limited stocks of summer gasoline, especially in the Northeast, are partly causing the recent rise. The continuous impact caused by supply interruptions from Hurricane Isaac and downtime at Midwest refineries are other factors impacting current gas prices.

National average gasoline prices are only ten cents away from the highest level attained this year, so a drop will surely be welcomed by motorists. In the early parts of April, gasoline prices reached almost $3.94 a gallon, then dropped for around three months. However, the increasing oil price per barrel, refinery and pipeline problems and the summer driving season moved prices higher by 10 percent since summer started.

Nationwide, the average gasoline price has increased by 3.2 percent up to this time of the year versus the same period last year, according to data from the Oil Price Information Service. Montana is the only state with lower year-to-date gasoline prices, although the difference is only 0.1 percent point. Arizona posts the highest year-to-date growth of 6.2 percent versus the past year for its average gasoline prices.

By: Chris Termeer