High Gasoline Prices May Keep Increasing to Record Breaking Levels this Year

In only three instances, American drivers have witnessed the nationwide average regular gasoline price reach more than $3.50. However, in those rare occasions, such price increases never occurred as early as this part of the year. According to analysts, this is an indication that the pain caused by high gasoline prices may possibly reach a record breaking peak level in the latter parts of the year.

Based on the Fuel Gauge Report of the AAA, the average gas prices in 2008 had reached an inflation adjusted national record during the summer season but it never went more than $3.50 per gallon all over the United States until the 21st of April. The same increase occurred once again during the previous year but it did not happen until the 6th of March.

However, the $3.50 per gallon of gasoline is here as early as this part of the year even before the usual shutting down of refineries for maintenance during the spring season and even prior to the switching of states from the more affordable winter gasoline blends to the more expensive summer blends.

As a recent example from the AAA report, the national average gasoline price is at $3.511. This is an increase from the previous weeks’ $3.480 price. The latest average gasoline price per gallon is also higher by 38.3 cents compared to the record set during the same period of the past year.

California drivers are among the hardest hit by these high price trends. Drivers of the state are currently spending nearly $3.839 per gallon. Before, the average of the state, which rose to 6.8 cents in the previous week, has never went beyond the $3.80 mark prior to the end of March – and the month of February is usually the time of falling current crude oil prices.

Oil prices also stayed at peak levels as it reached $2.23 to end at $100.90 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price is an increase of 18% compared to last year. In London, oil prices grew by 48 cents to reach $117.79 per barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange.

By Chris Termeer