Low Gas Stocks Fuel Unexpected Jump at the Pump

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Low Gas Stocks Fuel Unexpected Jump at the Pump


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumers will have to wait a little bit longer for the prices at the pump to decline. 

According to AAA, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline moved higher each of the previous six days, reaching an average of $2.80 per gallon on Jan. 15. That price represents a new 2015 high, and the national average is five cents more than one week ago and 10 cents more than one month ago. 

The association cites a decline in gasoline stocks caused by high fuel demand and persistent refinery problems — which has limited gasoline production — as the driver behind the unexpected jump in prices.

Still, despite the rise in pump prices, drivers continue to experience significant year-over-year savings with average price about 86 cents per gallon less than the same date last year.

Taking a closer look at specific states, California ($3.53) is one of four states where motorists are experiencing weekly savings at the pump, yet it remains the nation’s most expensive market for retail gasoline. It is followed by Alaska ($3.37), Hawaii ($3.34) and Nevada ($3.23). A total of eight states are posting averages above $3 per gallon. 

The west coast continues be the nation’s most expensive region for gasoline, but is closely followed by the Midwest, where a drawdown in gasoline stocks and issues at regional refineries have combined to push prices dramatically higher, according to AAA.

South Carolina ($2.49) and Mississippi ($2.52) boast the lowest averages at the pump.

Overall, gas prices are trending higher week-over-week. Averages have moved higher in 46 states and Washington, D.C. over this same period, and drivers in 19 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a 5 cents or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles. 

The largest jumps in price were in Indiana (28 cents), Michigan (25 cents) and Ohio (13 cents). The only states with weekly declines include California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

On a monthly price comparisons basis, motorists in 47 states and Washington, D.C., are paying more at the pump, and the price is up by 5 cents or more in 45 states and Washington, D.C. The states posting the most dramatic month-over-month increases in price include: Michigan, Illinois, Montana, Indiana and Ohio, AAA said.

In addition, according to the association, drivers in a total of 34 states and Washington, D.C. are paying monthly premiums of 10 cents or more per gallon. The only three states where the price has moved lower over this same period are California, Nevada and Arizona.

Retail averages remain significantly discounted year-over-year, with the majority of drivers saving more than 75 cents per gallon. The largest discounts in the price at the pump are in Ohio, Hawaii and Kentucky.