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U.S. Gasoline Prices Break Losing Streak

Gasoline prices rose 3.2 cents from a week ago, according to new GasBuddy data published on Monday. The price hike is the first in 14 weeks.

The national average for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose to $3.67 on Monday, GasBuddy data showed. Meanwhile, diesel prices continued to fall.

Behind Monday’s price rise are in part, refinery outages, along with unseasonably low inventories. Last week, a fire broke out at BP’s 160,000 bpd refinery in Toledo, taking the facility offline. Refinery issues in particular regions of the country have resulted in price disparity between the different regions.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a wider gamut of price behaviors coast to coast in my career,” head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy said in a note on Monday. “A slew of unexpected refinery disruptions, including fires and routine maintenance, have seemingly all happened in a short span of time, causing wholesale gas prices to spike in areas of the West Coast, Great Lakes and Plains states – and some of those areas could see prices spike another 25-75 cents per gallon or more until issues are worked out.”

The national average is now 17.5 cents lower than this time last month, but 49.3 cents higher than a year ago.

Some gasoline prices in Michigan have already climbed over $4 per gallon, with De Haan expecting more stations to join the hike, including in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Continued refining issues in California are also resulting in higher prices there.

Crude oil prices were also up on Monday, although have fallen substantially in recent weeks. WTI was trading at $79.60 per barrel, up $0.86 (+1.09%) on the day.

The United States continues to release crude oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring crude oil and gasoline prices down. The question remains, however, what price—and how vehemently—will OPEC+ defend, and whether SPR releases will have any impact on the markets should OPEC+ decide to cut production.

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By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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