U.S. Braces For Expensive Gasoline This Summer

By Julianne Geiger

The United States could be on the cusp of a surge in gasoline prices with the price in some U.S. states rising to as much as $4 per gallon, according to AAA.

As crude oil prices have shot up in recent weeks, Americans are already paying 14% more for a gallon of gasoline than they were in February, according to AAA data.

And signs are not indicating that those prices will come down anytime soon.

“With increased demand and tighter gasoline supplies, we are looking at more expensive pump prices with little relief in the weeks ahead,” Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, said in an article on AAA’s website.

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Gasoline inventories for week ending March 5 fell as the demand for the fuel continued to rise to levels not seen since November.

The price of WTI crude has risen sharply throughout 2021, from $48-something per barrel at the start of the year to more than $65 per barrel today as the supply situation begins to tighten as crude demand perks up and OPEC+ continues to restrain output.

The increase in gasoline prices over the last few weeks in particular, however, has been exacerbated by oil refinery outages in the United States after the devastating effects of freezing temperatures that hit Texas several weeks ago, causing widespread refinery outages that have not yet fully returned to normal. As more refinery units come back online, higher gasoline prices may be somewhat mitigated.

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And prices could reach $4 in some areas by the summer months—the typical height of driving season.

The areas that saw the highest increase in prices at the pump over the last week are Utah, Idaho, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, South Caroline, Alabama, Mississippi, and Wyoming—all who saw double-digit increases anywhere from 10 cents per gallon to 25 cents per gallon. Mississippi, however, is still the nation’s least expensive gasoline market, according to AAA.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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