According to a recent survey, gasoline prices in the U.S. have spiked by almost 12 cents a gallon over the past three weeks. The price increase is blamed, at least in part, on the rising price of crude oil in the North Sea. Volatility in the Middle East is considered responsible for the wholesale crude price increases.
The largest gas price increase since September
According to the nationwide weekly Lundberg survey, gasoline prices have risen by an average of 11.57 cents over the past few weeks. The average cost per gallon at the gas pumps climbed to $3.5101 as of Friday, Feb. 10. On Jan. 20, prices had risen by only 3.5 cents from the previous week. The latest increase is the highest per-gallon hike since September. It is also 12 percent higher than it was year ago. The recent survey indicates a continued and accelerated growth in U.S. fuel costs.
Surveyed, the highest and the lowest
The Lundberg survey polls about 2,500 gas stations across the continental United States. The lowest price of gasoline reported in the cities covered in the survey was $3.01. That price was recorded in Denver, Colo. The city of Long Island, N.Y., because of its higher taxes, had the highest rate, at $3.82 a gallon.
Crude prices sooner impacted by Middle East changes
According to Trilby Lundberg, the editor of the survey, the price of North Sea Brent crude oil has increased by $7 a 42-gallon barrel in the last two months. The prices in the North Sea are more immediately impacted by Middle Eastern volatility than in the United States.
Tension affecting price
Those Middle Eastern tensions include threats by Iran to block vital shipping lanes, the higher cost of summer-grade fuel and a decreased refinery capacity. Another factor affecting the hike is increased gasoline consumption in developing nations, such as India and China.
several more weeks of catch-up
Survey-conductor Lunberg went on to predict that U.S. fuel prices will continue to rise for several more weeks as the market feels the delayed affects of the rise in the wholesale crude costs. According to Bizmology, prices are likely to stay inflated until May.
Automakers respond with more efficient models
Bizmodo’s John MacAyeal reported that automakers, recognizing a trend that may not change at any time soon — and emboldened by sales increases in 2011 that they do not want to see reversed — are responding to the situation by creating more fuel-efficient models.
Gas consumption at its lowest in 13 years
Drivers in the U.S. are using less gas than they have at any time since 1999. The reduction in consumer spending at the pumps also worries some economists. Consumer spending is necessary for the economy to improve and recover.