We are just past the mid-point of the summer driving season that began Memorial Day weekend. Gas prices have been steadily inching upward during this summer driving season, however these are not the worst prices that the U.S. consumers have seen (think back to the summer of 2008).
GasBuddy.com reports $3.68 as the average cost of a gallon of gasoline across the U.S. today. [Ref 1]:
One Week Ago 3.615
One Month Ago 3.598
One Year Ago 3.485
In metro-Phoenix, AZ where I live, prices are a little better with an average of $3.576 today, up about 10¢ over last week.
A more interesting note for this week’s gasoline price check is that the cost of crude oil is rising faster than the prices at the pump. One of the price influencers is political turmoil in Egypt that toppled the government in mid-June and is largely responsible for the $5 increase to $106 per barrel of crude oil. [Ref 2]
Other influences are drivers like you and me who are hitting the road. More summertime driving reduces the crude oil inventory. Then there are those market investors moving their money from gold to oil futures, and there is always a refinery shutting down somewhere in the U.S. or Canada (scheduled or unscheduled).
Add to the mix the fact that we are in hurricane season. Although our primary weather woes have been extreme heat across the eastern half of the U.S., it only takes one storm to threaten oil platforms, operating refineries, and tank farms along the Gulf Coast and elsewhere, and you get rising gasoline prices.
All things considered, $3.576 per gallon doesn’t sound so bad after all, and if I am lucky, I’ll find even cheaper prices at Costco.
- “Why Gas Prices are Likely to Keep Rising”, Chris Isidore, CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/18/news/economy/gas-prices/index.html