Julius Caesar was warned about “the Ides of March,” but for modern drivers, the Ides of July brought the bad news of gasoline prices surging across the U.S., up almost a quarter per gallon in some places. The latest pricing survey from the Energy Information Administration shows the average price of one gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.64 per gallon, up an astonishing 15-cents in just one week. Drivers in the Midwest, where weather conditions in May created gas price havoc, are reliving the price shock at the pump, only worse. Prices leaped ahead by an average of 23-cents per gallon across nearly all of the Midwest. Only the Rocky Mountain states and the broader West Coast states escaped such drastic price swings during the past week, but prices still increased by about 9-cents per gallon in most states west of the Rockies.
Cost instability also afflicted truckers, at least moreso than during most recent weeks. The avereage price of a gallon of diesel fuel ticked upward by about four cents; but areas of the Gulf Coast and U.S. West Coast saw prices rise more than a nickel per gallon.
A number of factors could be contributing to the summer gas price increases, including fresh high prices for oil futures amid very tight supplies. Brent oil neared $110 per barrel as oil inventories decline and refinery capacity remains restrained this year. As mentioned, severe weather conditions across the Midwest during May cause shipping and refinery problems, and this year’s permanent closure of other refineries has also contributed to the cost pressure at the pump.
Year over year, most American drivers are paying between 18 and 25 cents per gallon more for gas. Translated to a full fill-up of a 15-gallon tank, that is the equivalent of an extra $2.70 to $3.75 per gallon more per tank.