Refinery issues lead to an increase in gasoline prices in 42 states.
Fuel prices are back on the upswing, as prices have now increased for 12 of the past 17 day. Prices have climbed higher for each of the past six days, bringing the national average price to $2.16 per gallon.
According to the recent Fuel Gauge from AAA, the current average of $2.16 per gallon is four cents more than one week ago, but it is two cents lower than one month ago and 46 cents less than the same time last year, and it is the lowest price for this date since 2004.
The rise in fuel prices is being attributed to the surge in crude oil prices, which have risen more than 20% this month, while refinery issues have impacted some regions, AAA reported. A number of refinery issues have arisen in the Gulf Coast as a result of the flooding in Louisiana and a refinery fire in Texas. Drivers in the Midwest and Central U.S. are seeing the most dramatic price increases as refineries raise their prices in response to the outages. However, as refineries return to production, prices may begin to drop.
Prices at the pump have increased in 42 states over the past week, but domestic gasoline supplies remain high, and, despite recent increases, oil prices remain relatively low in comparison to recent years. Fuel prices are still expected to remain low for the remainder of the summer. AAA reported that prices may even dip back below $2 per gallon after the summer driving season comes to a close.
Despite the recent increase in fuel prices, nine states are still recording gas prices below $2 per gallon. AAA reported that South Carolina ($1.87), Alabama ($1.90), Mississippi ($1.93), Virginia ($1.95), Tennessee ($1.95), New Jersey ($1.96), Arkansas ($1.99), Texas ($1.99) and Louisiana ($1.997) are the states that are touting the nation’s lowest fuel prices.
On the other end of the spectrum are the West Coast states, four of which are paying more than $2.50 per gallon. Those states are Hawaii ($2.69), California ($2.66), Washington ($2.58) and Alaska ($2.55).