U.S. motorists on Wednesday saw the most expensive gas prices at the pump in three months, as the national average price of a gallon of gas continued to rise. East and Red Sea attacks threaten to drive up oil prices.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States climbed Wednesday to nearly $3.24, the highest price since late November, according to GasBuddy data (AAA says the national average price is slightly lower , at $3.23).
Drivers can expect to pay the highest price for a gallon of gas in Hawaii, which averages $4.70, up slightly from a month ago ($4.68 dollars), but well below the price drivers saw in the Aloha State last year, at $4.89. .
Five other states average north of $3.50, including California ($4.62), Washington ($3.90), Nevada ($3.90), Oregon ( $3.59) and Pennsylvania ($3.50), due to a combination of factors, including higher-than-average gas taxes along the West. Coast and Pennsylvania, as well as transportation costs and several refinery issues, including a fire at a Montana facility and an outage at a British Petroleum refinery in Indiana.
The recent rise in gas prices comes as gas demand continues to rise, from 8.14 million barrels per day in the United States at the end of last month to 8.81 million barrels per day this week. last.
Recent attacks on ships crossing the Red Sea and the conflict in the Gaza Strip have threatened to continue to drive up oil prices, which could lead to higher gas prices at the pump. West Texas Intermediate, a national crude oil benchmark, has risen nearly 10% so far this year to just over $77, although it has eased from its 2023 peak from nearly 94 dollars last September and to its historic record of 118.87 dollars in June 2022. international volatility of the oil market. The international benchmark, Brent crude, rose almost 7% on the year to just over $81, although it was well below its record high of $112.24 in June 2022. Oil prices also jumped last year after oil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia cut production. , with Saudi Arabia reducing its daily outputs by 1 million barrels per day last June and Russia extending a reduction in its oil exports by 300,000 barrels per day three months later (Saudi Arabia extended its cuts until at the end of March while Russia increased its reductions to 500,000 barrels over the same period).
The national average price of gasoline has increased slightly for three straight weeks, according to GasBuddy data from more than 150,000 gas stations across the country, with prices increasing 9.6 cents from a month ago and Tuesday, although analysts believe higher prices are on the horizon. Patrick De Haan, chief oil analyst at Gas Buddy, said he expects big price hikes in March and April, arguing that recent “high-profile” problems at refineries do not bode well for the spring crisis. De Haan also warned motorists to expect a “bumpy transition to EPA-mandated summer gasoline,” a more expensive and efficient blend of fuels. Gas prices could also continue to rise throughout the week, according to AAA spokesman Andrew Gross, who predicted an uptick around Valentine’s Day.
Although rising gasoline prices earlier in the season have sparked analysts’ concerns about a rise later this spring, the price paid by drivers this week is still lower than the price at the pump at the same time last year and the year before. Drivers paid nearly $3.50 in February 2022 and last February, according to AAA data.
Oil prices rise following violent attacks in the Red Sea: will gas prices rise as a result? (Forbes)
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