Get ready for higher gasoline prices

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A couple of new factors may push prices at the pump higher

Inflation has fallen in recent months and one reason may be falling gasoline prices. But that might be about to change.

According to AAA, the national average price of regular gas is $3.15 a gallon, five cents higher than seven days ago. The average price is up six cents a gallon in the last month.

“We are in that time of year where pump prices begin to heat up, usually peaking around July,” said Andrew Gross, AAA’s spokesperson. “But unless something shocks the global oil market and causes prices to spike, the national average for a gallon of gas will probably stagger higher, with some flat days or even small price dips along the way.”

But something could be lurking that could cause prices to escalate faster than expected. Hostilities are increasing in the Middle East, and not just between Israel and Hamas. The conflict in Yemen is drawing in U.S. forces because of threats to shipping – primarily oil shipments.

Closer to home, there is a major outage at BP’s Whiting refinery, halting gasoline production. Patrick DeHaan, head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy, says it is likely fuel production will stop for a couple of weeks, though he says that assessment could change with more information.. At the same time, he says gasoline demand is rising.

Where prices are rising the fastest

Prices are rising the most in the Southeast, which normally has the cheapest gas. Prices are already rising in the Midwest, a region that may feel the brunt of the refinery closure. Here are the states in the Southeast and Midwest that have seen the sharpest one-week increase in prices at the pump:

  • West Virginia    + $.10

  • Minnesota    + $.09

  • Alabama    + $.08

  • Virginia    + $.05

  • Michigan    + $.04

Wyoming has the cheapest gas prices in the nation, with a statewide average price of regular at $2.68 a gallon. Oklahoma is second with an average price of $2.70.

California continues to have the highest gas prices in the nation. The statewide average for regular gas is $4.56 a gallon.

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