Pump prices have slowed their climb in the last week, as expected, according to GasBuddy.com data. The national average rose just fractions of a penny in the last week, rising to $3.51/gallon at this writing, virtually the same as it was a week ago.
A decline in oil prices two weeks ago certainly helped lead to the stall in rising prices, even as ethanol prices have caused upward pressure in gasoline prices.
"As I expected, the panic at the pump slowed considerably in the last week, with the national barely grinding out an increase in the last week, " said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.
"A cooling in oil prices during the previous week heavily influenced last week's quieter increase. While oil prices haven't moved much higher, we are starting to see more chatter about refinery incidents as more of them finish maintenance and get back online, and this can lead to spikes in gasoline prices if several refineries see unexpected outages or longer than normal return to production times, so motorists should be vigilant that while I don't expect prices across the nation to spike significantly, it's a risk that's on the table," DeHaan said.
South Carolina, Montana, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee saw the lowest average gasoline prices in the nation, all in the $3.20's, while Hawaii, California, Alaska, Illinois, and Connecticut all saw the highest prices.
Surprisingly, prices spiked over the weekend in Michigan and Indiana, even as wholesale prices showed little justification for the spike. Gasoline prices across the state of Ohio were joining in today, according to spotter reports to GasBuddy. Prices there were seen jumping to $3.69/gallon, which represented as much as a 35-cent a gallon hike at some stations in the state.
This week prices may remain relatively quiet yet again as oil prices seem somewhat steady around $100/bbl. However, we are starting to see more refineries undergoing maintenance, and should there be issues surrounding that, there could be localized price spikes.