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U.S. national average gasoline prices spiked over 16 cents last week, hitting $3.72 per gallon, according to data from GasBuddy, while AAA put the average price per gallon on Monday at $3.757.
At the same time, the past week has seen diesel prices increase 15.5 cents to $3.99 per gallon, with AAA reporting a price of $4.036 on Monday.
GasBuddy data is compiled from more than 11 million individual price reports from over 150,000 gas stations nationwide.
“Gas prices suddenly soared over the last week due to heat-related refinery outages that impacted some of the largest refineries in the country, at a time when summer gasoline demand peaks and as gasoline inventories slid to their lowest July level since 2015,” GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan said in a statement.
“In addition, oil prices surged to their highest level in months, rising to over $80 per barrel due to SPR releases coming to an end and concerns over cuts in supply from Saudi Arabia and Russia, the second and third largest oil producers in the world,” De Haan noted, adding that this is the “fastest pace” at which drivers have seen gasoline and diesel prices rise this year.
However, these price rises should now start slowing, according to GasBuddy.
There is a cautionary note, though, with De Haan saying that “as we get ever closer to the peak of hurricane season, any new issues could easily push the national average over $4 per gallon for the first time in 2023. Drivers may want to brace for potentially higher prices yet.”
The jump in gasoline prices comes amid five consecutive weeks of gains for crude oil prices, which are up some 5% over a week ago, gaining another boost from a Friday OPEC+ meeting in which the Saudis indicated plans to expand output cuts into September.
Fuel demand data from GasBuddy shows U.S. retail gasoline demand falling 0.9% last week, possibly indicating the peak of summer driving.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com