The national average price of gasoline is up nine cents on the week to $2.72, for the week of March 1, 2021, and is the most expensive daily national average since August 2019, according to AAA.
The increase represents a 30 cent increase from the beginning of February, and is 28 cents more than a year ago, AAA said.
The latest price jumps are a result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U.S. refineries offline and pushed refinery utilization from an average of about 83% down to an atypical low of 68%, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
AAA forecasts the national gas price average to hit at least $2.80 in March.
“Barring hurricane season, March may bring the most expensive pump prices of 2021,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “While the month is roaring in like a lion, by the end of it we could see some relief at the pump as refineries resume normal operations, especially if crude oil prices show signs of stability.”
While California ($3.68) and Hawaii ($3.46) started the year above the $3/gallon mark, a few other states have followed or are close to following suit: Washington ($3.09), Nevada ($3.01), Arizona ($2.98), Pennsylvania ($2.95), Oregon ($2.95), Illinois ($2.89), Washington, D.C. ($2.88) and Alaska ($2.87).
Every state average is more expensive on the week and the month, AAA said. Only three states have averages cheaper year-over-year: Hawaii (down 10 cents), Alaska (down 7 cents) and Oregon (down 3 cents).
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases include Arizona (up 25 cents), Colorado (up 13 cents), Nevada (up 13 cents), Michigan (up 13 cents), Oklahoma (up 13 cents), New Mexico (up 12 cents), Utah (up 12 cents), Arkansas (up 12 cents), California (up 12 cents) and North Dakota (up 12 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are Mississippi ($2.38), Louisiana ($2.41), Texas ($2.42), Missouri ($2.45), Alabama ($2.46), Arkansas ($2.47), South Carolina ($2.48), Oklahoma ($2.49), Tennessee ($2.50) and Montana ($2.50).