CEDAR CITY – Americans have enjoyed paying lower prices at the gas pump as the prices have held steady for some time now but experts say, it may be coming to an end.
According to GasBuddy, which tracks gas prices throughout the country, gas prices across the nation have jumped about 3 percent in the last couple of weeks to an average price of $2.33 per gallon. The national average is also up about 30 cents compared to this time last year.
“We long anticipated seeing gasoline prices beginning to rise en masse in the spring, but uncharacteristically, it took until April Fool’s Day for it to begin,” Senior Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy Patrick DeHaan, stated in his blog. “There’s no fooling this time – the rally in prices does seem to be more credible as oil and gasoline markets rebound.”
Prices also rose another penny from Thursday to Friday morning as experts pointed to Syrian attacks as the reason. That is, except in Utah where the pumps experienced a 1 cent reduction during the same period.
Led by the Midwest that has seen double digit increases in the last two weeks, prices are expected to rise through Memorial Day as all but four states are now seeing gas prices really jump, DeHaan said. Among the four states, Utah saw a record decrease of three cents with Idaho down two cents, Hawaii, down one cent and California, unchanged.
“Motorists should expect to see a more sustained upward trend at the pump through Memorial Day, but thankfully the season rise could still be less severe than what we’ve seen in prior years,” DeHaan said.
While gasoline prices have heated up in the last two weeks, 8,235 gas stations in the country are still selling gas at $2 per gallon, a drop from 13,905 stations a week ago. The bulk of these stations are in the states with the lowest overall gas price averages: South Carolina, $2.03, Oklahoma, $2.07, Tennessee $2.07, Mississippi, $2.08 and Alabama $2.09.
Nearly half of the nation, 22 states, saw average gasoline prices under $2.25 per gallon.
Likewise, average gasoline prices fell 1.5 cents per gallon during the start and end of the first quarter of 2017, the first such decline since at least 2008, DeHaan said.
“Gasoline prices rarely, if ever, decline between the start of the year and close of the first quarter as prices typically begin to spike in late-February due to refinery maintenance and the transition to summer gasoline,” he wrote in his blog.
This year, however, few unexpected refinery outages and a smooth transition into the peak season, has left prices in almost a limbo. Additionally, crude oil inventories have continued to rise, putting downward pressure on oil prices that recently saw a spike for the first time in several weeks, hitting above $50 a barrel.
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