Gasoline prices in the United States have increased over the past week as a rise in crude oil prices combined with a fire and shutdowns at several major refineries, refinery sources and gasoline traders tell Reuters.
Reduced gasoline production from six refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast and the East Coast tightened gas supply last week and this week, leading to a rise in the average U.S. retail price of gasoline to $2.45 per gallon, compared to $2.33/gallon in the same week last year, according to GasBuddy data cited by Reuters.
According to AAA, the national gas price average increased by two cents on the week to $2.44 on Tuesday. The national average was 11 cents cheaper than last month, but 13 cents more expensive than last year.
“Pump prices in the week ahead could see further volatility depending on movement of the oil market as well as U.S. gasoline demand and stock levels numbers,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said on Tuesday.
The oil price recovery combined with the refinery outages to drive prices at the pump higher this week.
Earlier this month, a unit outage at the 238,000-bpd Bayway refinery operated by Phillips 66 in New Jersey hampered U.S. East Coast gasoline supply in an already tight market due to the shutdown of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions in the middle of 2019, Genscape said last Friday.
A fire at Exxon’s 502,000-bpd Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana led to the shutdown of multiple units on February 12. Exxon aims to restart the shut crude distillation units (CDUs) as quickly as possible, sources with knowledge of the operations told Reuters.
On top of those two outages, units at another four refineries were shut during the Presidents Day weekend—the gasoline units of refineries operated by LyondellBasell Industries and Chevron in the Houston area, a unit at Shell’s Convent, Louisiana, refinery, and another unit at Marathon Petroleum’s Galveston Bay refinery in Texas City, according to Genscape and to refinery sources.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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