Posted at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021
No gas price relief expected this month
The Brillion News
MADISON – Gas prices continue to increase, with the national average up nine cents on the week to $2.72 as of Monday, March 1.
That is a 30 cent increase from the beginning of February, 28 cents more than a year ago and the most expensive daily national average since August of 2019.
The latest price jumps are seen as a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U.S. refineries offline and pushed refinery utilization from an average of about 83 percent down to an atypical low of 68 percent, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In its latest data, EIA also reported demand at 7.2 million barrels of crude oil per day.
Both utilization and demand rates have not been reported this low since last May.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) forecasts the national gas price average to hit at least $2.80 in March.
Motorists can expect continued increases of at least five to 10 cents per gallon in local markets until refinery operations are restored to stability.
“Barring hurricane season, March may bring the most expensive pump prices of 2021,” said Nick Jarmusz of AAA. “By the end of [March] we could see some relief at the pump as refineries resume normal operations, especially if crude oil prices show signs of stability.”
California ($3.68) and Hawaii ($3.46) started the year above the $3/gallon mark, a few other states have followed or are close to following suit: Washington ($3.09), Nevada ($3.01), Arizona ($2.98), Pennsylvania ($2.95), Oregon ($2.95), Illinois ($2.89), Washington, D.C. ($2.88) and Alaska ($2.87).
This week, every state average is more expensive on the week and the month.
Only three states have averages cheaper year-over-year: Hawaii (-10 cents), Alaska (-7 cents) and Oregon (-3 cents).
~ Ed Byrne/BN from information provided by Wisconsin AAA