Gasoline prices continue to rise as vacationers in RVs and campers join commuters on the roads during the peak summer driving season, the Associated Press reported today (June 28).
Pump prices likely will continue to increase over the next couple of weeks but fall short of $3 a gallon in most states. Analysts note that demand remains lackluster while supplies are ample. And consumers worried about the economy may keep traveling to a minimum.
The national average for retail gasoline prices rose 0.1 cent to $2.756 a gallon Monday, according to Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That’s an increase of 1.9 cents from a week ago and 11.3 cents from a year ago.
Western states tend to have higher prices. Gas is averaging $3.141 a gallon in California; $2.904 a gallon in Idaho and $2.997 in the state of Washington.
Among those states with the lowest prices were Missouri at $2.562 a gallon; Mississippi, $2.556 a gallon; and Tennessee, $2.585 a gallon.
Oil prices dipped slightly today after it appeared Tropical Storm Alex would strengthen but remain out of the Gulf region where most oil rigs and refineries are located.
“The crude market is not particularly tight right now so weather-related production outages will not have the same effect as in years past unless they reach ‘Katrina’ levels,” MF Global analyst Mike Fitzpatrick said in a research note.
“Prices, will however, be sensitive to economic data flow, particularly with respect to the economy,” he wrote.
Benchmark crude for July delivery fell 88 cents to $77.98 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Oil analyst and trader Stephen Schork predicted oil prices would trade in a narrow range this week ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
The dollar also grew stronger against other global currencies, which can hurt commodities trading. Most commodities are priced in dollars so a stronger dollar makes them less appealing to foreign investors.