Gas prices continue to climb higher

National/World
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FILE – In this Thursday, July 16, 2015, file photo, a customer re-fuels her car at a Costco in Robinson Township, Pa. The plunging price of oil in 2016 is dragging stock markets to their worst start to a year ever, even though low fuel prices are great for consumers and most companies. (AP Photo/Gene […]

The national average continues to surge as seasonal factors put pressure on the pump with prices rising 4 cents in the last week to $2.66 per gallon Monday, just cents short of the highest level in 978 days, according to GasBuddy’s latest survey.

“As the Basketball version of March Madness wraps up today, it is just getting established at gas pumps across the country. This past week has not only brought higher gas prices, but in addition, the national average finds itself mere days away from rising to the highest level seen in nearly 1,000 days,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “The usual suspects are at play, leaving little surprise to the higher prices we’re facing, but that’s little comfort to motorists being hit with gas prices in 17 states that have risen over 15 cents per gallon in the last 30 days alone. Think of the spring surge as a bit of a race- some states will see their price rally early and fast-paced, while others may lag behind- so no matter if prices near you surged or haven’t yet, we’re all going to eventually feel a similar rise amongst all states.”

Part of the reason for the surge is typical seasonal factors, but also higher oil prices, which have come as U.S. oil supply continues to decline due to OPEC’s production cuts that have cut inventories by some 100 million barrels versus last year, according to recent data from the Energy Information Administration.

Seasonal factors including refinery maintenance, the transition to summer gasoline and falling gasoline inventories also continue to put upward pressure on gas prices. In the last week, gasoline inventories fell by 3.5 million barrels according to EIA data, while crude oil inventories fell 1.6 million barrels. While gasoline inventories stand nearly the same as last year as refiners purge winter gasoline from their inventories, oil stockpiles stand 104 million barrels lower than a year ago, largely due to higher crude oil exports and OPEC’s global production cuts.

Looking state-by-state, the largest weekly changes in average gas prices were seen in: Utah (+10 cents), Indiana (+8 cents), Florida (+7 cents), Michigan (+7 cents), New Mexico (+7 cents), Pennsylvania (+7 cents), Idaho (+7 cents), Georgia (+6 cents), Maine (+6 cents) and New Hampshire (+5 cents).

States with the lowest average gasoline prices: Missouri ($2.37), Arkansas ($2.38), Mississippi ($2.39), Oklahoma ($2.40), Texas ($2.42), Wyoming ($2.43), Alabama ($2.43), Louisiana ($2.44), South Carolina ($2.44) and Kansas ($2.46).

States with the highest average gasoline prices: California ($3.50), Hawaii ($3.46), Washington ($3.16), Alaska ($3.08), Oregon ($3.04), Nevada ($3.02), Pennsylvania ($2.87), Michigan ($2.77), Idaho ($2.76) and New York ($2.76).

Gas prices are likely to continue moving higher in the week ahead, although the pace may slow slightly as oil prices have seen smaller increases than the prior week.

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