20 February 2013 15:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in the US has risen by 46 cents/gal, or nearly 14%, in the past 33 days, automobile organisation AAA said on Wednesday.
The national average price of regular gasoline is at $3.75/gal, which is 15 cents/gal more expensive than one week ago and 44 cents/gal more than one month ago.
The 44-cent month-on-month increase is the most dramatic since June 2009, the AAA said in its Fuel Gauge Report.
According to the AAA, the largest monthly increase on record was 5 August to 4 September 2005 when prices increased by 75 cents/gal, largely because of Hurricane Katrina.
Not only is this year’s increase in prices larger than the past few years, it also comes earlier. In comparison, the national average in 2011 increased by just 7 cents/gal during the same 33-day period, and in 2012 it increased by 18 cents/gal.
“One reason for the earlier price increase is the trend of US refineries performing seasonal maintenance and making the switch-over to summer blend gasoline production earlier in the year,” said the AAA’s Michael Green. “This earlier schedule is the choice of refiners and has not come in response to any change to the deadline to complete the transition to summer-blend fuels, which are required in many parts of the country and more expensive to produce.”
When refineries perform maintenance, regional supplies are cut, causing prices to increase.
While the peak price this spring may approach the 2011 and 2012 highs, the AAA said it continues to expect the 2013 high to be lower than both years.
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