Summer gas prices have spiraled out of control since July 1, climbing to $3.67, a 34 cents per gallon increase. Prices are at least partially to blame because of pipeline and refinery issues on the West Coast and Midwest.
Prices are still below April levels when the average price per gallon reached $3.94 with some areas topping out over $4.
Crude oil is now selling at $94 per barrel, up from $78 in late June. At least part of that production is blamed on US refinery issues while issues in South Sudan, the North Sea and Western sanctions on Iranian oil have also taken their toll. In the last two weeks oil pipelines in Wisconsin and Illinois have ruptured, leading to shutdowns.
Oil, a very speculative business, is also likely seeing price increases as Iran continues to threaten the shutdown of the Strait of Hormuz, a major shipping hub for oil tankers located around the world.
Gas prices at the pump also increase during the spring and summer months because a more expensive blend of gasoline must be manufactured to keep up with clean air rules. Demand also increases in the summer as more Americans take their family on vacations.
The worst hit areas include Vermont, Illinois,Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin which have experienced price increases of more than 50 cents since June. In California gas prices have increased by 13 cents since Friday’s refinery fire.
According to officials the increase in gasoline prices shouldn’t largely affect the economy since $.034 per gallon typically means just a $33 per month increase for the average American household.
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