LI gas prices continue to climb

LI gas prices continue to climb

GasBuddy.com, which surveys 170 gas outlets in Chattanooga, said today that local prices at the pump rose 3.5 cents per gallon to $2.45 per gallon for regular gasoline.

What's worse? While analysts are predicting a 15-cent surge this week, "Prices could rise even more, depending on how the crude market responds to the latest news of a USA missile strike over the weekend", AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.

Internationally, prices per barrel of Brent crude - a key worldwide benchmark for oil prices - have risen steadily since July 2017, going from US$46 per barrel to US$69 per barrel in January 2018. "The USA's scale of operations provides efficiencies in fuel distribution that Cayman does not obtain as we have much higher unit infrastructural and operational costs, which result in higher prices to consumers than in the U.S".

For perspective, crude oil was hovering around $48 a barrel back in September 2015.

"Ultimately, (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production in 2017, leaving USA oil inventories at far lower levels than a year ago".

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Seasonal factors in the US also are in play now, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

If gas prices follow their typical trajectory, they may rise slightly in the next month or so but should start falling after that, DeHaan said. "With the transition to summer gasoline also wrapping up, the reasons causing gas prices to rise will shrink". Refinery maintenance has gone well thus far, and gasoline supply has continued to push higher as more refiners conclude their work.

"Demand from tourism could certainly play a part in it", said AAA Spokesperson Michelle Donati.

California's high fuel taxes and fees have likewise played a role. Jerry Brown, who vigorously supported the measure to raise more than $52 billion over a decade to help pay for extensive road-improvement programs statewide. AAA had the state average slightly higher at $2.64 a gallon, a 6-cents increase from last week. "Let's just hope we don't go to extra innings".

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