US retail gasoline prices not expected to hit 2012 high

28 February 2013 21:28  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--While the national average price of retail gasoline in the US has increased by 49 cents/gal since the beginning of the year, it is not expected to reach the high seen in 2012, US automobile organisation AAA said on Thursday.

The average retail gasoline price began 2013 at $3.29/gal and has climbed a total of 46 days to a national average of $3.78/gal, according to AAA.

The dramatic increase since the beginning of the year has resulted in the highest average prices ever for this time of year.

Gas prices increased at a dramatically faster pace than expected in February,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “Motorists unfortunately are paying more for gasoline than ever at this time of year, and it is primarily because of a decline in refinery production and higher futures prices.”

Many refineries are conducting seasonal maintenance and, accordingly, fuel production has dropped.

The upcoming transition to more expensive summer-blend gasoline in order to meet air quality regulations has also pushed prices higher.

However, AAA expects retail gasoline prices to peak at a lower national average than 2012’s high of $3.94/gal.

“There is a lot of uncertainty on where gas prices will go over the next few weeks, but hopefully the worst of the price spikes are behind us for now,” continued Ash. “There is still refinery maintenance to be completed and most of the country must transition to summer-blend gasoline, so motorists are likely to face continued high prices in the weeks ahead.”

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By: Anna Matherne

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