AAA’s latest Fuel Gauge Report shows little movement since last week in the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline, nearly unchanged at $3.62 on June 3 (it was $3.63 on May 27). This price is still 10 cents more than it was a month ago, and three cents higher than it was on June 3 last year.
Although drivers in some states, including W.Va., S.C., Miss., Ala., N.C. and D.C, have seen prices fall during the last 30 days, higher prices in the Midwest, Rocky Mountain states, and in the Pacific Northwest have been pushing the national average price up. Drivers in 16 states saw prices rise more than 20 cents per gallon during the past month. In seven states in the Midwest, including N.D., S.D., Iowa, Okla., Neb., Kan., and Mich., drivers are paying at least 30 cents more than they did a month ago.
Last week, a number of states saw declines in gas prices, but three states, including Ohio, Ind., and Mich., saw prices actually increase by more than 10 cents during the last seven days (May 27 to June 3). AAA said higher demand for wholesale gasoline, due to the beginning of the summer driving season, is affecting the Chicago market, for example. In addition, AAA noted that the residual effects of planned and unplanned refinery maintenance still mean tighter supplies in those states.
As for oil prices, AAA said they have been trading within a $5 range for more than a month and the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled at $93.45 at the end of trading on June 3.
Although AAA still believes prices could drop later in the summer, the hurricane season (affecting Gulf Coast states) could lead to a drop in supplies in advance of the switch to winter-blend gasoline, thereby keeping prices high or driving them higher later this year.
The chart below shows how gasoline prices have been trending from Jan. 2011 up through June 3, 2013.