It wasn't that many weeks ago that regular gas in the 'Boro was below $3.00 per gallon and falling. Prices have suddenly exploded to the $3.45-$3.55 range locally. In fact, retail gas prices have now surpassed year-ago levels and motorists are now paying more for a gallon of gas than they did in 2012. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular retail gasoline is 13 cents more than this time last year.
Multiple factors have converged to cause both oil and gas prices to increase. Typically, pump prices increase this time of year as a result of the summer blend switch and refinery maintenance. However, a severe snowstorm in the Northeast, continued concerns over Iran's nuclear efforts, and economic news have caused prices to move higher than initially forecast for this time of year.
"Motorists can expect gas prices to rise throughout March and into April," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "Although there are a few factors that could cause oil prices to stabilize this week, it's likely gas prices will increase. So far market trends and price fluctuations at the pump have been similar to 2011 and 2012, leading analysts to believe prices will peak in April before they retreat."
A barrel of oil closed Friday at $95.86 on the New York Mercantile Exchange — 14 cents more than the week prior.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.71, 13 cents more than last week. Florida’s average of $3.78 increased 14 cents from last week, and Georgia’s average of $3.64 rose 17 cents. Tennessee’s average of $3.53 increased 18 cent from last week, respectively.