Gas Prices Expected to Rise

Pump prices are set to grow over the coming weeks, with the summer national gas price expected to increase by at least 10 cents.

According to a report by AAA, prices could top this year’s highest national average gas price of $2.42, recorded in March. The low was $2.23 in June, when prices are usually high.

“In spite of industry predictions to the contrary, gas prices this summer are cheaper than at the beginning of the year. However the next few weeks will paint a different picture,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Gas prices will move north of $2.32 as early as next week and continue to increase until Labor Day when they’ll start to dip.”

One reason for the potential increases are refiners continuing to run record levels of crude oil, which is creating high levels of gasoline and diesel. In addition, the summer season’s strong demand is expected to stay on pace and may even set a new record high between now and Labor Day. Other factors include hurricanes and exports, according to AAA.

Hurricane season began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there is a 45% chance of an “above-normal season.” The 2016 season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including seven hurricanes and four major hurricanes. Expect hurricane activity to influence gasoline prices this fall. S. crude and gasoline exports from the U.S. are expected to be higher than in previous years. With Petroleos de Venezuela – a traditional key supplier for the entire western hemisphere – operating at record lows, many countries supplied by the firm are likely to turn to U.S. refiners for product. Unless there are dramatic shocks to the U.S. supply chain for gasoline, this trend will continue growing through the end of 2017.

The national average gas price on July 20 was $2.28—up nine cents over last year but only one cent more than a month ago. Consumers can find gas for $2.25 or less at 57% of gas stations across the country. Some 40% or more of gas stations in nine states are selling a gallon of unleaded gasoline for $2 or less: South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Only 2% of all gas stations in the country are selling gas for $3 or more.



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