The Georgia Jump
Big month-to-month, year-to-year gas price hikes in Southeast, 37 states, D.C.
WASHINGTON -- The national average for a gallon of gasoline hit $3.70 this week, according to AAA, up 16 cents per gallon (cpg) compared to last month. This is up 20 cpg compared to this same date last year, making it the largest year-over-year increase since July 22, 2013; however, it is a lower average than this same date in 2011 and 2012.
The national gasoline price average has risen 76 of the past 80 days, said AAA, but it continues to follow the association's projection for spring, with a peak expected between $3.55 and $3.75.
The biggest price increases in the second half of April played out in the Northeast, with Connecticut (+8 cpg), Massachusetts (+8 cpg), New Hampshire (+7 cpg) and Rhode Island (+7 cpg) among the top 10 in largest weekly price increases; however, Utah takes the prize for most dramatic price increase over the last seven days, with the average price per gallon up 11 cents.
Meanwhile, prices have fallen during the last seven days in the Southeast and Midcontinent, with Kentucky (-4 cpg), Nebraska (-2 cpg), Arkansas (-2 cpg) and Florida (-2 cpg) enjoying the biggest decreases. Prices also fell slightly in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, North Dakota and Texas.
Year-over-year, prices in 37 states and the District of Columbia have increased by double digits, with California (+35 cpg), Delaware (+32 cpg) and Georgia (+32 cpg) taking the lead. AAA cited the tensions in Ukraine as the main reason for elevated crude oil prices, contributing to higher gasoline prices.
In his blog, fuel analyst Patrick DeHaan noted that GasBuddy.com data confirms that gasoline prices dropped in March and spiked substantially in April. The national monthly average for unleaded regular is up more than 12 cpg vs. March, according to GasBuddy.com figures, with more increases in store as "summer blend" gasoline replaces the less-expensive winter formulation.
On a month-to-month basis, April gasoline prices have trended lower in a few states, including Colorado, Utah, Alaska and Minnesota. In Colorado the gap is especially evident--for example, Fremont County's average was 2.9% lower in April than in March, representing a 10-cpg decrease, which DeHaan said was the biggest county decrease in the United States. He pointed to higher refinery runs and the ramp up in domestic crude production for moderating prices in parts of the Rockies.
But also on a month-to-month basis, big price increases have hit parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic in April. DeHaan cited Washington, D.C., Georgia and Alabama, where gasoline prices have soared 20 cpg or more vs. March. Some cities and counties saw prices jump 30 cpg or more, especially in Georgia.
"An especially ambitious amount" of refinery maintenance on the Gulf Coast and lower imports is helping pressure prices here higher, said DeHaan.