Gasoline prices continue to soar

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The pump average in Oklahoma has soared 48 cents since Jan. 16 when the state’s average for self-serve regular gasoline was $2.97 per gallon. Gas price averages in every state in the nation have increased over the last week, up by a dime in Oklahoma but by even larger amounts elsewhere: California and Nevada (18 cents), Colorado (15 cents), Arizona (14 cents) and Utah (12 cents).

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The statewide average in California now stands at $4.06. Motorists in Hawaii still pay the highest price at the pump at $4.24 per gallon.
Today’s (Feb. 12, 2013) national average price for a gallon of gas is $3.60.

This price is seven cents more expensive than one week ago, 29 cents more than one month ago and nine cents more than the average price one year ago. Today’s national average is the highest on record for this calendar day. It has increased for 26 consecutive days, the longest streak since February/March 2012.

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Since mid-January the national price at the pump has been propelled higher by somewhat more expensive crude oil, but more notably by regional refinery issues and the approaching switchover to summer-blend gasoline. Unlike recent years (Libya in 2011 and Iran in 2012), escalating geopolitical tensions overseas have not been a major contributing factor to the early-year price increase.

Without a similar “risk premium” built into futures prices or new market-moving news, AAA expects that the increases to the national average will slow as temporary production concerns are addressed. Based on this expectation, the national average is likely to peak this spring at a lower price than in 2011 ($3.98 on May 5) and in 2012 ($3.94 on April 5 and 6).

After declining slightly to end last week, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) prices again moved up yesterday settling $1.31 higher at $97.03 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX.