Gas prices begin to rise as refineries switch to summer blends
The price at the pump rose by a couple of cents a gallon last week the switch is made to summer blendsand refineries undergo maintenance turnarounds.
Gas prices are running about 35 cents higher than a year ago, with crude oil running about $10 a barrel higher than in the spring of 2016.
CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES
Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)
|4/9/2017||Week Ago||Year Ago|
|$42.79 per barrel|
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil was up $1.64 from last week to settle at $52.24 per barrel.
Crude has closed above $50 each day this week. This came about even though the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a surprising increase of 1.57 million barrels in crude inventories, bringing total U.S. stocks to a record 535.5 million barrels.
“Rising gas prices, an annual rite of spring, came a few weeks later than usual,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The combination of the switchover to summer-blend gas and crude oil closing above $50 all week, has pushed prices higher at the pump.”
The latest missile firing in Syria have not caused immediate movement in gas or oil prices, but how the situation develops over the next few weeks could change that. Reports that Iraq plans to increase its production cut compliance as a part of OPEC’s output agreement furthered speculation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may extend their agreement beyond the original six-month deadline of June. U.S. oil production is seen as a threat to the reduction of still-swelled global inventories. Even though most analysts expect OPEC to extend the cuts deeper into 2017, rising U.S. output stands to snuff out price rallies.
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