You may notice gas prices across the country are beginning to move higher, thanks to the situation in Iraq and perceived threats to oil exports from that country. In the last week, the national average has risen 2 cents per gallon, but in some states the pain at the pump is worse than others.
Over the last week, Montana saw the largest jump in prices with the average soaring 6 cents per gallon to $3.53/gal. Ohio saw prices jump to $3.86/gal, a jump of 5.3c/gal, while Illinois is bracing for $4/gal statewide, with average prices jumping to $3.95/gal, a spike of 5c/gal.
Few states saw decreases last week, but of those who did, Alabama was the big winner, with statewide prices falling 2.3c/gal to $3.40/gal. South Carolina saw a 1.9c/gal decrease to $3.39/gal, California saw a 1.7c/gal drop to $4.09/gal, and North Carolina saw prices give back 1.6c/gal to $3.57/gal.
For the week ahead, I would expect most states to see a slight increase in prices- but some areas, such as the Great Lakes (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana) may see slight decreases.
"The national average has stayed relatively flat for
the last month, but that appears to be over, as the escalating situation in
Iraq takes hold and drives crude oil and retail gasoline prices higher,"
said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.
some areas of the country have already seen slight price increases, and
although the situation is still in its early stages, motorists should be ready
for higher gasoline prices if the situation in Iraq threatens the ability of
Iraq to export crude oil. While the U.S. only receives about 300,000 barrels of
Iraqi crude per day, the concern is about the other 3 million or so barrels per
day that Iraq pumps, which could be at risk of disruption. It's that perceived
threat that may cause the national average this week to rise 3-6 cents per
gallon. The bigger picture here is that the timing of the situation in Iraq
could threaten the possibility that motorists see lower prices this summer, as
we had anticipated in our much earlier forecasts," DeHaan said.