Problems with energy infrastructure in the United States and production considerations from OPEC mean delays in expected declines in gas prices, AAA said.
Motor club AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.22, relatively unchanged from one month ago.
In the domestic market, even though consumers may be pressuring demand, AAA said crude oil supplies are adequate. Some markets, however, may still be adjusting to a problem with the infrastructure that supports the consumer fuel market.
"While national prices have been steady, pump prices in some regions have moved dramatically over this same period, largely due to disruptions on the Colonial pipeline and refinery maintenance," the weekly market report read. "As recently as last week, gas prices jumped in the Midwest as a result of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance at BP's Whiting refinery impacting supply in the region."
Most southern U.S. markets fed by the Colonial pipeline, which was down for part of September, are adjusting after the Sept. 21 restart. Problems with the Whiting refinery, the largest in the region, have been more common in recent years and issues there last year pushed some local prices above the $3 per gallon mark.
Retail gasoline prices typically decline after the Labor Day holiday in the United States as demand declines in response to the end of the summer travel season and as refiners switch to a winter blend of gasoline, which is less expensive to make.
Crude oil prices, which represent the bulk of the price at the pump, are up more than 8 percent since Labor Day as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries march toward a November meeting that could finalize an agreement to hold production levels relatively static. That could be supporting higher gasoline prices in the United States.
Before the OPEC agreement was announced last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said it expected retail gasoline prices to average $1.92 per gallon by December.