As Memorial Day quickly approaches, motorists may be noticing gasoline prices in much of the U.S. and Canada have started moving higher.
The national average is the last week is up "just" a penny per gallon, but some states have been harder hit than others: Wisconsin has seen average prices rise 4c/gal, Indiana is up 6c/gal, Illinois is up 3c/gal, Washington is up 5c/gal, Oregon is up 6c/gal. And the pain may get worse for motorists along the West Coast where gasoline supply remains very tight following an extensive period of refinery maintenance that has left gasoline inventories 11.2% below their year ago levels, according to the California Energy Commission.
The news isn't so grand for the next week either, as oil prices rallied last week to their highest level in over a month, and gasoline futures also follow crude higher.
Price hikes may occur today in the Great Lakes as a result of late week wholesale price increases that occurred last Friday, however, there may be some good news ahead for those in the Great Lakes: the "premium" that motorists have been paying in that area appears set to drop and if prices do spike today in that region prices may drop quicker as spot prices indicate that wholesale prices may drop over 10c/gal by this evening. You'd be hard pressed to see a tanker filling up this morning with stations seeing the price disparity if they buy gasoline later today.
In other regions, gas prices may rise as well- plains states could see some increases this week, however, in the Southern U.S., gasoline prices that have risen may continue at a slower pace.
If oil prices cool off this week and fail to continue their rally, we still could see a downward trend develop just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. I'll be optimistic, but not holding my breath.