The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline increased for the 20th straight day on Sunday. The current price of $3.64 is the highest since July. Up in the 'Boro too. Some discounters started the week with regular gas locally available at $3.40 per gallon.
“The demand for gasoline is driving up the price of oil, which in turn, is pumping up the price of gasoline,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Prices are expected to keep rising in the near future due to unexpectedly lower supplies and rising demand.”
Gasoline demand is at its highest level since January, according to the Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, consumer confidence is at its highest since July. These factors pushed the price of oil last Friday, to its highest price on the NYMEX in five weeks.
“When consumer confidence is up, the price of oil often follows, because speculators believe more people will be buying gasoline,” said Jenkins. “Meanwhile, refineries that reduced their output during maintenance season are working to return to full capacity. This supply shortage, coupled with the switch to the more expensive summer-blend fuel, are typical factors that result in higher gas prices this time of year.”
The EIA released its summer forecast this week, predicting that retail prices would average $3.57 per gallon during the summer driving season, once cent cheaper than last year. This projection falls within AAA’s forecast that prices would peak between $3.55 and $3.75 this spring.