AAA Fuel Gauge Report: Midwest Gas Prices Spike Due to Heavy Rains
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gas prices saw another slight decline during the past week, with the national average dropping one penny to $3.52 for a gallon of regular gasoline. This is 16 cents less than one month ago and 35 cents less than the same date one year ago, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.
The national average has risen for three straight days after declining for 45 out of 51 days. Despite these increases, the national average is still 27 cents below the peak 2013 price to date of $3.79, which occurred on Feb. 27.
Every state but Utah, Idaho and Wyoming are paying less for gas than they were one month ago, but heavy rains in the Midwest led to supply concerns and sharp price increases in some states over the last week.
Forty-three states and Washington, D.C., are paying less than a week ago, while four Great Lakes states have seen the average price per gallon shoot up at least 10 cents: Illinois (10 cents), Michigan (24 cents), Ohio (28 cents) and Indiana (28 cents).
The recent storms and resulting power outages were the catalyst for higher retail prices in the Midwest, according to AAA, but analysts had also warned that the region was susceptible to price increases as regional refineries had yet to undergo maintenance and transition to summer-blend gasoline production.
Gas stations in most of the country must make this switch by June 1, but refineries make the transition in March and April to meet a May 1 deadline. During this period, regional production is reduced, and supplied markets are more vulnerable to unexpected disruptions, such as the storms.
Low demand, disappointing economic news and lower crude oil prices served as primary factors driving decreases in retail gas prices in recent weeks, according to the AAA report.