Gas Price Hikes: Expect ‘Little Good News’ as Costs Increase for Fifth Week
At the start of 2022, steadily increasing gas prices throughout the U.S. were just beginning, culminating in the highest recorded average price of $5.016 in June 2022. Drivers are hoping it’s not déjà vu all over again, but experts are predicting at least a few more weeks of heightened gas prices.
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“There appears to be little good news on the gas price front, with prices unlikely to turn around any time soon,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at real-time fuel helper GasBuddy.
The national average gas price has risen 31 cents from last month and almost 14 cents from a year ago. Though a far ways off the highs seen in mid 2022, this is the fifth straight week that the U.S. average gas price has increased, according to GasBuddy.
USA Today noted that last year’s pricey pumps was greatly affected by the war in Ukraine and the subsequent global sanctions imposed on Russia. But, citing increased demand and the continued high price of oil, most experts are echoing De Haan’s prediction for a period of elevated prices.
“January’s weather was relatively mild in much of the nation, which led to more drivers hitting the road. However, a return of wintery conditions in February may see a revival of seasonal driving patterns,” said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “(B)ut with the cost of oil stubbornly hovering around $80 per barrel, drivers probably won’t catch a big break at the pump over the next week or two.”
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AAA noted that demand has risen over the past week, from 8.05 to 8.14 million barrels per day (b/d).. Referring to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), AAA claims the total domestic gasoline stocks increased by 1.7 million bbl to 232 million bbl last week. At the same time, demand for gasoline increased from 805 million barrels per day (b/d) to 8.14 million b/d.
However, De Haan stated there are a couple of other reasons gas prices might stay lofty causing retailers to “pass along the rise in wholesale gasoline prices due to continued challenges: refinery utilization that still hasn’t fully recovered from December’s cold weather, and refinery maintenance season that’s just around the corner.”
Around the nation, the following states currently have the highest gas prices: Hawaii ($4.937), California ($4.556), Washington ($4.130), Nevada ($3.988) and Colorado (3.860), who also had the largest weekly increase in price, according to AAA.
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The five states with the lowest average price for a gallon of regular gas today are Texas ($3.129), Mississippi ($3.168), Arkansas ($3.173), Missouri ($3.179) and Kentucky ($3.195).
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