The auto group AAA reminded drivers that spring is on the way — and along with it, higher gasoline prices.
AAA said Thursday that the price of gas will be on the way up as refineries start to shut down for winter maintenance, which reduces supply. They also gradually switch to more expensive summer blends of gasoline over the coming weeks.
“Winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies have kept gas prices relatively low recently, but this trend may not last much longer,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA.
This rise in price happens nearly every spring. This year, AAA predicts the nationwide average price will peak between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon, lower than last year’s high of $3.79, reached on Feb. 27.
Right now, gas is on average 28 cents cheaper than at this time last year.
For all of 2014, AAA expects the nationwide average to be at least five cents cheaper than last year’s $3.49
Thursday, oil prices rose as a positive report on the U.S. labor market and more cold temperatures boosted expectations of higher demand for heating oil.
Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery was up 25 cents to $97.63 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange after earlier rising above $98.
The Labor Department said the number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits declined 20,000 last week to 331,000, suggesting that Americans are facing fewer layoffs and better job prospects. Those figures came a day before a widely anticipated report on January employment.
With chilly temperatures across the middle of the country and into the Northeast, demand for heating oil remains strong. That should boost refineries’ need for crude oil.
The cool weather has had the opposite effect on gasoline demand: drivers hunkering down in their homes don’t use the car. The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $3.27, down 5 cents from Jan. 1.
Courtesy of USA Today