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Gas Prices See Weekly Rise, Pace Slowing

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Gasoline prices have advanced in the last week again, rising by a penny versus a week ago to $2.42 per gallon, according to price-tracker GasBuddy.

“Gasoline prices saw another weekly lift, yet have begun to slow their ascent in recent days,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Since mid-February, average gasoline prices have risen 17 cents – a far cry from the 41 cent gain during the same time a year ago. While the annual spring spike remains subdued, prices do remain 28 cents higher than a year ago, though the gap has narrowed.”

While most states saw prices rise over the last week, there are new signs that many states could see a slow down this week, thanks to crude oil prices stumbling late last week, falling back under the key $50 per barrel level.

Some 29 states saw gas prices starting the week higher than a week ago while 21 states saw prices lower. Leading the pack up was Utah (up 9.4 cents), Ohio (up 7.1 cents), Alaska (up 6.8 cents), Connecticut (up 4.7 cents) and Idaho (up 4.5 cents). Decliners were led by Oklahoma (down 3.9 cents), Iowa (down 3.2 cents), Louisiana (down 1.9 cents) Wisconsin (down 1.7 cents) and South Carolina (down 1.6 cents).

Compared to a year ago, gas prices remain higher in all U.S. states by an average of 28 cents per gallon, while Alaska stands atop rankings versus a year ago with average prices today some 64 cents higher while prices in Arizona stand on the bottom at 15 cents higher.

While gas prices advanced, so did the number of gas stations selling at or under $2 per gallon. Last Monday, just a handful of stations saw such prices while today nearly 1,000 stations are at that level (0.7%).

Hawaii led with the nation’s priciest gallon, averaging $3.11, followed by California ($3.01) and Alaska ($2.93). South Carolina, meanwhile, had the nation’s cheapest prices with an average of $2.11. Following were Oklahoma ($2.12) and Arkansas ($2.16).

“Overall, I would be surprised if we see the national average rise substantially more since the deadline for refiners to switch over to summer gasoline is nearly here. In addition, U.S. oil production numbers are up, keeping the pressure on oil prices, while gasoline inventories remain very healthy. While we may see the national average rise to the low side of our previous predictions of $2.51-$2.83/gal for May, we’re unlikely to see anything higher, which is certainly good news for motorists,” DeHaan added.

Head of Petroleum Analysis (USA)

Patrick has developed into the leading source for reliable and accurate information on gas price hikes. Patrick has been interviewed as a gasoline price expert hundreds of times since 2004. Based in Chicago, Patrick brings to GasBuddy all his assets to help consumers by giving reliable and accurate price forecasts, including the San Jose Mercury News dubbing Patrick "one of the nation's most accurate forecasters" in 2012.

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