Gas prices are currently averaging $3.66 for a gallon of regular unleaded, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. This is a 7 cent increase from this time last week. The Fuel Gauge Report uses retail receipts from more than 100,000 service stations across the United States, compiled by the Oil Price Information Service and by Wright Express.
Since the July 4 weekend, US drivers have been paying more at the pump. California, which typically is in the top 3 for highest US gas prices, has dropped down to the number 9 spot. Currently, the states with the most expensive gas are as follows:
* Alaska – $4.09
* Hawaii – $4.04
* Connecticut – $3.98
* New York – $3.90
* Illinois – $3.88
* Washington, DC – $3.84
* Rhode Island – $3.80
* Washington – $3.79
* California – $3.79
* Oregon – $3.75
The price of gas is rising amid a confused and chaotic commodities futures market, which is up one day on expectation of strong economic growth and down the next on data that suggests the opposite. Meanwhile, U.S. supplies of both crude oil and refined gasoline shrank in the previous week, but not because consumers were buying more. Rather, oil imports declined and refiners reduced their production activity slightly.
Several refinery problems around the United States were contributing to higher gas prices. The refinery news included some of the nation’s largest fuel producers, including BP (NYSE: BP), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Exxon (NYSE: XOM), and Conoco Phillips.
BP’s 475,000-barrels-a-day Texas City facility in Texas has been running at as little as half-capacity since April and was not set to resume full production until August. Chevron Corp. just recently restarted it’s 330,000-barrels-a-day refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., that had been down since May 9. ConocoPhillips’ 362,000-barrels-a-day Wood River refinery and ExxonMobil’s 60,000 barrels-a-day Billings, Mont., refinery are also operating at reduced rates.