API says global oil behind gasoline prices

Aug. 13, 2012 at 9:05 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- Increases in retail gasoline prices in California and parts of the U.S. Midwest are a reflection of rising crude oil prices, trade group API said.

Motor group AAA reports drivers in California paid, on average, $4.08 per gallon of regular unleaded Monday. In the Midwest, Illinois drivers paid around $4.03 per gallon of regular unleaded. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was reported at $3.69.

John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, states U.S. refineries are meeting supplier demand for gasoline, blaming regional price increases on crude oil prices.

"The single biggest factor in today's higher gasoline prices is the rising cost of crude oil," he said in a statement.

Weak demand, he added, has kept gasoline prices in check despite a recovery in crude oil prices. In July, crude oil prices rose by as much as 37 cents for some blends, while California gasoline prices increased by 29 cents for the month.

Felmy made no mention of U.S. Midwest prices, affected by the closure of a Wisconsin pipeline feeding refineries in Chicago. A fire in Richmond, Calif., forced Chevron to shut down one of its processing units, causing a spike in gasoline prices there.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration, in its latest report, said it expects retail gasoline prices to average $3.53 per gallon for the year before dropping 20 cents by 2013.

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