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U.S. Prices At the Pump Climb After Cold Spell Shutdowns

Prices for a gallon of gasoline in the United States rose 4.5 cents from a week ago, hitting an average of $3.07 on Sunday, GasBuddy reports, after refinery shutdowns due to cold weather pushed wholesale prices up. 

The national average price of gasoline in the U.S. is still 41.2 cents lower than a year ago, while diesel prices, which have fallen 0.5 cents in the past week, remain 79 cents lower than a year ago. 

“We’ve seen the national average price of gasoline bounce back up after cold-weather-related refinery shutdowns pushed up the wholesale price of gasoline,”  Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said. 

De Haan also emphasized the impact of recent GDP data and new attacks in the Red Sea, which have pushed oil prices to their highest level since November. 

“While prices have inched up and may continue to slowly rise, I believe the larger increases will be witnessed in a few weeks as we enter mid-February, lasting through April or May, during which the national average could rise 35 to 85 cents per gallon. Other issues and tensions could complicate how quickly prices rise or how high they go, so while the rise is not completely charted, it could deviate from our expectations,” De Haan added.

At the time of writing on Monday at 9:44 a.m. EST, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading down 1.10% and Brent crude was trading down 1.04%, but nearly $5 higher than a week ago. The markets remain volatile and uncertain over how to weight what GasBuddy refers to as a “solid GDP figure” from last week against rising geopolitical tensions, “high-visibility layoffs”, and interest rate cuts, while oil demand lags and gasoline inventories experience large builds despite a drop in refinery output earlier this month due to severe weather conditions. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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