U.S. gas prices are close to last year's all-time high

The price at the pump could move higher, but not by much - provided trade tensions stay in check.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  April 10, 2018 at 7:28 AM
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April 10 (UPI) -- The average price for gasoline in the United States is already close to last year's high and should move higher, but only slightly, a market snapshot shows.

Motor club AAA reported a national average retail price of $2.66 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, a slight decline from Monday and just a fraction of percent below last year's peak of $2.67 per gallon.

"The price is likely to increase as spring brings warmer weather and the switchover to summer blend gasoline, but hopefully we will only see mild jumps in coming weeks," AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said in a statement.

Refiners make a summer blend of gasoline that's more expensive to make because of additional requirements to prevent evaporation during warmer months. Higher oil prices, meanwhile, are adding to higher prices at the pump. The average price for a gallon of gas on this date last year was $2.40. Crude oil prices, meanwhile, are closer to $70 per barrel, compared with $55 per barrel this time last year.

Oil prices are rallying early Tuesday on signs of a thaw in the tense trade relationship between the United States and China.

By region, the West Coast is the most expensive, with four states posting averages above $3 per gallon. Federal data show gasoline inventories there are down slightly from the week before, but still high when compared with last year.

The Great Lakes market is the most volatile, with the price of gas in Michigan dropping 7 cents per gallon from last week. Ohio, meanwhile, saw the price go up 6 cents. Gasoline inventories, meanwhile, are on the decline, but in line with the historic average, AAA reported

Federal data show total U.S. gasoline stocks declined more than 1 million barrels, while demand levels are on par with last year. A preview from S&P Global Platts of U.S. data to be published last this week anticipates gasoline stocks dropped another 2 million barrels.

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