U.S. average gas prices have increased 35 days in a row for a total of 39 cents per gallon, marking the longest consecutive streak of rising prices since February 2013, according to AAA.
Gas prices are climbing due to both rising crude oil costs and refinery maintenance and unplanned production issues. Crude oil prices have been increasing since late January, which has helped push gas prices higher nationwide. The price of globally traded Brent crude has increased by more than $12 per barrel, AAA pointed out, while domestic WTI is up by more than $4 per barrel. Crude oil is the main component of gasoline, and every $1 increase in the cost of crude oil can lead to a nearly 2.5 cent per gallon increase in the price of gasoline, AAA reported.
What’s more, gas prices typically increase at this time of year as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit fuel production and supplies at a time when demand begins to rise. Many refineries conduct maintenance in late winter and early spring so that equipment will run smoothly during the busy summer driving season. As a comparison, last year, average gas prices jumped by about 43 cents per gallon from early February to late April, according to AAA.
As of March 2, the national average gas price was $2.43 per gallon, AAA reported. The national average increased about 13 cents per gallon during the week from Feb. 23 to March 2, which marks the largest one-week jump since July 2013.