Gas Prices Keep Rising As Summer Winds Down

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

Gasoline prices continued their upward march as the summer driving season wound down with the Labor Day Holiday. The weekly gas price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the release of which was delayed this week because of the holiday, shows the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline in the U.S. has gone up another six-cents per gallon, setting over the $3.60 mark for the first time in several weeks.

Prices have been under tremendous pressure as crude oil futures have skyrocketed in price lately, largely on fears of instability in the Middle East, particularly the situation in Syria. While gas price increase varied widely by region, most drivers from New York Metro to the Midwest paid between five and 10 cents per gallon more for gas during the past week, compared with the weeks immediately preceeding the Labor Day weekend. Drivers in New England and the West Coast states enjoyed lower price increases or, in the case of Washington and Oregon, price declines.

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Weekly diesel price survey

Meanwhile, the price of diesel fuel has jumped considerably since last week, with some drivers paying about a penny per gallon more, as in the Rocky Mountain States, and truckers across the Midwest paying about a dime per gallon more for diesel.

Despite the unreast overseas and fears of a possible colder-than-usual winter season ahead, fuel prices are down considerably from just a year ago. The U.S. average price for a gallon of regular gas is down nearly a quarter, while the price of diesel is about 15¢ per gallon less than at this time in 2012.



As Predicted By, Gas Prices Start Late-Summer Increase

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The price of gasoline has begun to slip upward, as predicted by in our last story about the cost of fuels. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly gas price survey shows gasoline prices fell in New England and across the West Coast of the United States, but the cost of driving increased for nearly everyone else. The average price of a gallon of gas is up about a penny over last week, but some areas, particularly the Midwest, were hit with a 2¢ to 3¢ increase in gas prices. The survey tracks the average regional cost of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

The news for truckers, however, was even worse. The cost of a gallon of diesel fuel was up in every region of the U.S., and the potential for an autumn spike in prices looms with continued unrest in the oil futures markets. The cost of diesel hit a U.S. average of $3.91 per gallon this week, although prices in California and across the West Coast are much higher. In some areas, the average diesel cost is hovering around $4.16 per gallon.

The Syria situation has thrown new waves of jitters into the oil futures markets, which had already been surging for October deliveries. The price of Brent and West Texas Intermediate futures both spiked amid news of possible chemical weapons use in the lengthy Syrian civil war, coupled with continued unrest in Egypt that could threaten shipping lanes in the Red Sea, The Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal that connects them.
The potential of a U.S. missle strike loomed Tuesday morning, with some officials at the Obama Administration telling NBC news a military action could come as early as Thursday. U.S. warships and aircraft carriers in the region have already been repositioned for such an attack.

Despite the unrest and current pricing trends, overall fuel prices are still off their highs of the year, and prices are considerably lower than at this time in 2012. The price of gasoline is anywhere from 20¢ to 30¢ per gallon less than last year, and diesel prices are lower by about the same amount. Whether the year over year price break remains intact, however, will depend largely on futures markets and investors’ fears about supply going into the fall and winter seasons.

Farmers’ Almanac is been cited by numerous media in the past 24 hours, after that publication predicted a bitterly cold and snowy winter across the U.S. That kind of forecast could cause investors to bid higher on oil futures, with the expectation of high demands for heating oil, propane, kerosene and natural gas.

Cost Of Driving Keeps Falling, But For How Long?

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Weekly gas price survey

Gasoline prices continued to fall during the past week, with the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded dropping about a penny per gallon, according to the latest survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Drivers in California and the West Coast enjoyed bigger declines of five to six cents per gallon.

However, if the oil futures markets are any indicator, the price of gas could be about to swing higher during September. In fact, the one region of the U.S. where gas prices are broadly higher is the Midwest, and that typically is an early indicator of an increase in fuel costs for drivers.

School bus:
Oil futures are higher over the past several weeks, an indicator gas prices are about to go higher in September. Such an increase could cost parents who drive their children to school rather than use a school bus.

The situation could be particularly troublesome for commuters with children, as the back-to-school rush is kicking into high gear. Many counties’ school districts opened for the new school year this week, with more coming on board in the coming week and immediately following the Labor Day Holiday, which is September 2.

For parents who drive their children to school, rather than sending their children to school on a bus, the increase in oil futures, coupled with the uptick in gas prices in the Midwest, could portend a costlier commute in the coming weeks.

Diesel fuel costs began a reversal of their recent downward pricing trends, as the average price of a gallon of diesel remained largely flat or notched higher across most regions of the United States. The average trucker is now paying about $3.90 for fuel in the U.S., alghough prices in some regions of the Untied States, particularly California, are well above $4.00 per gallon. Most school districts’ bus fleets also use diesel fuel, and a price increase will likely squeeze school budgets and cause districts’ school boards to reassess monetary priorities, in the event of a large price increase in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the year-over-year numbers are actually a bright spot, with gas prices lower for most drivers versus the back-to-school period in 2012. The average gas price is down about 19¢ per gallon versus last year, while diesel prices are lower by 13¢.


Gas Price Relief Comes As Parents Prep For Back-to-School

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Download the weekly EIA gas price survey.

The heat may linger, but gas prices are beginning to fall further from their summer highs as the back-to-school rush gets into full swing. That good news has been noticeable in nearly every region of the United States, as the cost of a gallon of regular unleaded dropped between 6¢ and 11¢ per gallon, with the biggest relief felt across the Midwest, where the summer started with a torrent of price hikes to match the torrent of bad weather in May. New England and California, where prices usually are higher than the U.S. average, enjoyed smaller declines in the cost of gas, with people from Maine to Massachusetts  paying about 3¢ less per gallon and West Coast drivers paying about 4¢ less.

Drivers in the Rocky Mountain states did not witness a decline in fuel prices, and some even felt a tighter grip by the pump this week. Across the region, prices remained mostly flat, although some stations raised prices by a penny or two. The Rocky Mountain region and California are the only two areas of the U.S. where prices are currently higher than they were last year at this time. Prices across the Rockies are up more than 14¢ per gallon versus their 2012 levels; California prices are up about 4¢.

Gas prices now at pre-summer levels.
Aside from a brief mid-summer drop, gas prices have not been at their current levels since the start of May.

For the most of rest of the country, prices this week are down from 2012 numbers by between 10¢ and 15¢ per gallon, although drivers across the Midwestern states are enjoying prices over 30¢ below this time last year. Gas prices, overall have not been this low since a dip in prices in early-July, which lasted less than two weeks. Prior to that, prices were last at this level in the weeks just before the Memorial Day holiday.

Truckers and other drivers of diesel trucks and cars enjoyed a slight drop in the price of fuel, but the weekly declines were not nearly as noticeable as for regular fuels. The average diesel driver enjoyed about a penny’s worth of relief at the per gallon level. However, like regular gas, the year-over-year numbers are more satisfying. The average U.S. price of a gallon of diesel is down about 7¢ from this time in 2012.



Gas and Diesel Prices Slip Downward In Nearly Every Region

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Weekly gas price survey

Gas and diesel prices retreated from their mid-summer spike during the past week, according to the latest price survey from the U.S. Energy Information Adminstration. For gasoline, prices dipped by an average of just over a penny per gallon, for regular unleaded.

Most regions that enjoyed a price break saw declines betwen 2¢ and 4¢ per gallon. However, drivers in the Midwest endured another increase in prices at the pump.

Overall, drivers across the United States have watched fuel prices bounce in a fairly narrow range during the past three months, although weather and refinery issues did impact gas prices across the Midwest in May and early June.

Fuel prices nationwide are an average of $3.63 per gallon, with prices mostly lower along the Lower Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, and higher across the New England states and across the broad Western U.S.Diesel fuel remained nearly steady or was lower in most areas of the United States last week.

The EIA reported the average price of diesel was down about a penny per gallon, although prices in the Rocky Mountain states and the West Coast, particularly California, notched upward one to two cents.

Diesel fuel is currently averaging $3.91 per gallon across the United States, but truckers and diesel car drivers in New England and the West Coast are paying well over $4.00 per gallon. The average price of a gallon of diesel in California is currently $4.13, according to the EIA.



Gas Prices Drift Lower, But Truckers Still Feel More Pinch At Pump

The price of gas at Shell stations in Florida is considerably higher than the regional average. Shell has the contract for the gas stations on Florida's Turnpike.
The price of gas at Shell stations in Florida is considerably higher than the regional average. Shell has the contract for the gas stations on Florida’s Turnpike. Photo taken July 29, 2013.

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas slipped about four cents per gallon in the past week, according to the weekly pricing survey from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but the offset was hardly noticeable in some cities, where the price of gas kept going higher despite the numbers reflected in government pricing surveys.

In fact, Shell Oil, which has the contract for the service plazas on Florida’s Turnpike, had some of the highest prices for gasoline in the South Florida Metro Area, including Fort Lauderdale, where some stations were charging more than $3.80 per gallon, even though the average for Gulf Coast and Lower Atlantic states is more than 30¢ per gallon cheaper.

Conversely, in New Jersey, where pricing controls are in place, and tied to the consumer-based Lundberg Survey, the current price gas is $3.61 per gallon, which is below the EIA survey price for the East Coast U.S.

The pain at the pump comes into focus when comparing prices to one year ago, when the average cost of a gallon of gas was hovering around the $3.50 range. Right now, the average U.S. gas price is about $3.65 per gallon, although that number is down from last week.

Diesel fuel pump icon
Weekly diesel price survey

For truckers, the price if diesel kept rising during the past week, with the average per gallon price, nationwide, now at about $3.92. In some states, particularly on the U.S. West Coast, the price is well above $4.00 per gallon. New England states also saw diesel prices keep rising above the 4-dollar mark.

Interestingly, the pricing charts for crude oil and gasoline closely mirror each other, primarily because of the way fuel distributors’ accounting practice, which reflects a “last in, first out” inventory pricing policy. That strategy accounts – no pun intended – for the fact fuel distributors charge more for gasoline the moment crude oil prices begin to spike. The cost of existing inventories, which may have been less expensive, are not typically part of the immediate pricing equation.



Florida and North Carolina Tag Team on SunPass and Quick Pass

Sunpass MiniFlorida’s Turnpike will now accept the North Carolina Quick Pass for payment on Florida’s Turnpike, it was announced today. Conversely, Florida’s SunPass can now be used to pay tolls on the Triangle Expressway in the North Carolina Research Triangle Park region. The announcement was made by both states’ Departments of Transportation in what had been an expected union of the two electronic tolling systems.

One of the frequent questions visitors to have is why E-ZPass and other state electronic toll devices do not work in Florida. Dianne Gutierrez-Scaccetti, the exective director of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, wrote in a news release, “Interoperability between SunPass and electronic toll systems in other states is something we’ve bee diligently working toward for some time.”

The North Carolina tolling system participates in the broader E-ZPass electronic toll system, which covers states across the entire middle and upper Atlantic regions, New England, and the Midwest. Until now, Florida had never participated in any interstate electronic tolling system.

Connecting with North Carolina is a likely first step in Florida becoming part of the larger E-ZPass network at a time when the state is making significant technology upgrades to its toll roads and toll collection systems. Florida’s Turnpike Extension, located in Miami-Dade County, became the first leg of the turnpike system, in the Sunshine State, to become an all-electronic tolling system.  However, no timetable has yet been posted detailing when SunPass might be accepted in other states or when E-ZPass, particularly from states like New York and New Jersey, might be accepted in Florida.

Crude Oil Prices Lead Gas Prices Higher

March 11, 2013 gas prices
Gas prices are steadily heading back to $4.00 per gallon in some places, particularly California and the U.S. West Coast. The price of gas in most regions of the U.S. is now between $3.70 and $3.80.

A continual rise in crude oil prices has solidly impacted the price of gasoline at the pump, with the weekly gas price survey showing fuel costs higher from coast to coast, regardless of whether you drive a regular car or a tractor-trailer rig. The price of a gallon of regular unleaded jumped nearly a nickel per gallon during the past week, while diesel prices jumped by about four-cents per gallon. Overall, the national average gas price is up about 19-cents versus this time last year. Diesel prices are up about 12 cents per gallon, year over year.

The spike in prices has officially placed the U.S. average fuel cost higher than had been predicted by the U.S. Department of Energy. During the spring, the Energy Information Administration had predicted overall fuel prices would be around $3.63 over the summer. While prices along the lower Atlantic states and across the Gulf Coast are below that figure, most drivers across the United States are now paying anywhere from $3.71 across the Central Atlantic to nearly $4.00 across the West Coast. Diesel costs are now at or above that $4.00 per gallon threshold, with no signs of abating in the near future.

The cost of gas is being driven, to turn a phrase, by upward prices on crude oil. West Texas Intermediate crude has nearly matched up with the price of Brent Light Sweet Crude, rallying over the course of several months to keep the cost of a barrel of oil well above $100. European investors traded back some of their U.S. oil futures on Monday, July 22, in favor of profit-taking, several observers, including CNBC’s Jim Cramer, say oil is likely to only go higher. A per-barrel price of about $110 is still seen as very likely, meaning the summer driving season will give way to a back-to-school season with even higher gas prices.



Gas Prices Begin Strong Upsurge For Summer

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Weekly gas price survey

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.

Diesel fuel pump icon
Weekly diesel price survey

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.



Gas Prices Begin Upward Climb As Crude Oil Prices Retreat Slightly

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Weekly gas price survey

Gas prices nudged upward in some regions, and truckers, in particular, found themselves paying more at the pump during the past several days as the price of a gallon of diesel began creeping higher in the wake of a spike in commodities prices during the past week.

Overall, the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline was fairly flat across most regions, although higher in New England and the Midwest. Diesel prices were broadly higher across the United States, but slightly lower in the New England and Rocky Mountain states. The prices are detailed in the latest weekly survey from the Energy Information Administration.

The price fluctuations come amid a spike last week in crude oil futures, which came as unrest in Egypt gave rise to concerns about global supplies. However, crude oil prices were down from last week’s highs Monday. Still the summer driving season has been rocked by refinery issues and flooding problems in the Midwest, political unrest across the Middle East, and a train derailment in Quebec Saturday, July 6, that could further exacerbate supply issues, even though reserves remain fairly stable across North America.

The average price of a gallon of unleaded, nationwide, was just under $3.50; although prices along the West Coast and California remained significantly higher, with some people paying upward of $4.00 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

Prices of diesel remained at about $3.83 per gallon, on average, during the past week; however, truckers along the West Coast and in New England were paying at or above $4.00 per gallon.