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U.S. Gasoline Prices Rise for Third Consecutive Week

With gasoline demand rising, U.S. gasoline prices increased last week for a third week in a row, up by 4.4 cents from a week ago to an average $3.44 per gallon, GasBuddy said on Monday.

As of today, the national average is up 18.7 cents from a month ago and 1.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy, which has compiled price data from more than 12 million individual price reports covering over 150,000 gas stations.  

Ongoing refinery maintenance and the switch to the more expensive summer-blend gasoline have also contributed to the rise in U.S. gasoline prices over the past week.

The price of WTI Crude, the U.S. benchmark, has also jumped in recent days to above $80 per barrel, which also adds upward pressure on gas prices. Early on Monday, the U.S. crude traded at $81.76, up by 0.73% on the day.

“Most Americans continued to see average gasoline prices march higher last week,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said.

“The reason is the season: gasoline demand is rising as more Americans are getting out, combined with the summer gasoline switchover, which is well underway, and continued refinery maintenance.”

U.S. gasoline demand rose 3.2% between Sunday and Saturday, and was 1.9% above the four week moving average, De Haan said on X today.

“It was the highest demand since the week before Christmas. Seasonal increases will likely continue,” he added.

However, the rise in gasoline prices is set to slow in the coming weeks amid signs that refinery output is creeping higher, which could signal that peak maintenance season could be over soon, De Haan noted.

Refinery capacity utilization rose to 83.4% in the week to March 8, compared to 81.9% in the week ending March 1, according to the latest petroleum status report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). At this time last year, the utilization rate was much higher—at 86.5%, per the EIA data.   

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“For now, gas prices will likely continue to trend higher, but the fever may break soon,” De Haan said.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on March 18 2024 said:
    Definitely starting to see a material increase in pure play BEV for the first time along the Eastern Seaboard where the bulk of energy demand is located. PHEV sales continue to be very strong as well. Probably not a bad time to take some profits in Valero anyways. If farm tractors starting being built to scale as hybrid drive systems that could have a huge impact upon diesel fuel demand for 2024 among other matters.

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