Gasoline prices continued their spring push this week amid tightened supplies and increasing demand. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is the highest since August. In the past 8-weeks, Murfreesboro discounters have raised the price per gallon 41-cents.
Prices in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee reached their highest levels since March 2013, September, and August respectively. Prices in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee are exceeding year-over-year levels, because at this time last year, pump prices were tumbling from an unusual late February peak.
In 2011 and 2012, prices followed a more traditional trend peaking in May and April respectively.
“Prices may move a little higher in the coming weeks,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “However the end is likely in sight for many drivers across the country. The exception to this trend could be motorists in regions where unexpected refinery or distribution issues cause prices to temporarily spike.”
Every spring refiners are required to switch to producing summer-blend gasoline by May 1, with gasoline required to be sold at the pumps by June 1. This seasonal refinery maintenance and the actual changeover itself increases the possibility of a disruption to production, which can send prices higher in an area that is normally supplied by a limited or offline facility. These sorts of refinery issues have been minimal this spring, but the coming weeks will bear close attention.
Sunday's national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.58, 3 cents more than last week. Florida's average of $3.67 rose 4 cents from last week. Georgia’s average of $3.51 rose 9 cents, while Tennessee's average of $3.41 jumped 7 cents from last week. No big difference in the 'Boro, some discounters opened the week with $3.37 per gallon regular gas. That's a 41-cent increase in just 8-weeks.