( June 23, 2014) As we approach the end of the first full month of the 2014 summer driving season, the national price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon, which is the highest price for early summer in six years. The average price at the pump has increased for 12 consecutive days for a total of four cents per gallon, narrowing the gap between the current retail price and the 2014 peak of $3.70 per gallon reached on April 28. Today’s average is two cents more than one week ago, three cents more than one month ago, and motorists are paying 11 cents more per gallon than a year ago.
Violence keyed by the militant group known as ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) has continued to expand toward southern Iraq, where the majority of the country’s oil production is located. These concerns have helped to increase global oil prices, which makes it more expensive to produce gasoline. AAA had previously predicted that the national average price of gas would fall 10-15 cents per gallon in June, but that now appears unlikely due to higher oil costs. This means that even though the national average has only increased a few cents per gallon since the Iraq violence intensified, drivers are likely to pay substantially higher gas prices than they would have otherwise.
For more than a month, drivers in three states have paid more than $4.00 dollars per gallon at the pump: Hawaii (currently $4.34), California (currently $4.15) and Alaska (currently $4.10). Prices in 43 states and the District of Columbia have increased during the previous week and prices in 18 states are up by a nickel or more. Motorists in only five states have seen pump prices fall by a penny or more: Indiana (-14 cents), Ohio (-13 cents), Michigan (-10 cents), Illinois (-4 cents) and Kentucky (-3 cents).
In 41 states and Washington, D.C., drivers are paying more at the pump in comparison to this date last year, and 33 states and Washington, D.C. are paying a dime or more per gallon. Of the eight states with lower prices at the pump, only the drivers in North Dakota (-13 cents) and Utah (-12 cents) are experiencing savings in the double-digits.
After a run-up to a new nine-month high to end last week, and with no major market-moving news over the weekend, crude oil prices moved slightly lower today. At the close of formal trading on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled 66 cents lower at $106.17.