In the past few days, the national average price of gasoline spiked by 5 cents per gallon, from $2.06 to $2.11, according to GasBuddy.com.
The jump had been brewing since Jan. 7, according to a news release, which noted a 25 to 30 cents climb in the final three weeks of January – a steadier climb than the sudden hike seen this week.
Since Monday morning, wholesale gasoline prices are up an additional 11.5 cents per gallon, on average, nationwide. San Francisco saw the highest wholesale increase since Monday, up 24-cents per gallon.
“What does it mean for retail prices? It’s an indication that the prices at the pump in most areas will be climbing steadily and in some other areas, like the Great Lakes region, we’ll see steeper climbs. For instance, Michigan’s average price on Tuesday was $2.09 and this morning it’s 2.23,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.
Bay City, Mich., led all U.S. metro markets with a 29-cent increase just in the past 24 hours. To see which U.S. metro markets have the highest price increases click here.
“It’s not uncommon for many to look at the headlines and assume that the jump in crude oil or the United Steel Workers strike at nine refineries triggered the price increases, but they’re only peripheral issues,” Laskoski said. “Retail prices are rising as they always do in the first quarter for the same reasons year-in and year-out: Refinery outputs are reduced during a transition process necessitated by EPA mandates. A maintenance period begins between the time that winter fuel is depleted and before the cleaner-burning, more expensive ‘summer-blend’ gasoline production can begin. Much but not all of that maintenance is scheduled in advance.”