Gas Prices Rise in the Final Days of Summer

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Gas Prices Rise in the Final Days of Summer


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The final days of summer heralded an increase in the price of fuel, but they it may be the last for a while, according to an Associated Press report. Average gasoline prices rose 1.5 cents overnight to $3.843 per gallon Tuesday, the biggest increase in the last two weeks.

Data from AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) shows that drivers in eight states are paying at least $4 per gallon, and even the states with the lowest prices have seen the cost of an average gallon increase more than 60 cents from early in summer. Nationwide, the cost of an average gallon has risen by approximately 50 cents since July 1.

However, prices will likely come down when refiners switch to the cheaper winter fuel blends.

"This is the fireworks finale for the season, the next four or five days," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS. "By next week, it will start to move lower." He also noted that short supplies of summer gasoline, especially in the Northeast, contributed to the recent price increase, along with supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Isaac and refinery downtime in the Midewest.

Overall, the national average price of gasoline has risen 3.2 percent so far this year, compared to the same time period in 2011, according to OPIS data.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) made no changes in its forecasts for crude and petroleum prices, even though the U.S. crude benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), increased by 10.1 percent last month, according to a MarketWatch report. The EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook shows that WTI averaged $93.50 a barrel in August, the same forecast as one month ago. It also forecasts the WTI to average $93.50 a barrel in September.

According to the EIA, self-service retail gasoline averaged $3.47 a gallon last month, as was previously forecast. It expects September's average price to equal the last estimate of $3.44 a gallon.