Gasoline prices held steady through early February. However, an increase is usually inevitable at this stage of the year. Prices at pumps have increased by an average of more than 31 cents a gallon during February over the last 3 years.
Although, this year the increase at the pumps might not be as much as in past years, there are reasons for some drivers in different parts of the U.S. to worry.
In the Northeast for example, the prices are expected to spike to a level that is very noticeable.
Crude oil prices per barrel have increased by over 8% in the past 30 days, to more than $100 per barrel. Analysts expect supplies of fuel to start to declines as oil refineries pull back production for their annual maintenance and switch from winter to summer fuels.
The creep up in prices has already started and nationwide the average price has increased for seven consecutive days to $3.34 a gallon. That is the highest the price has been since last October.
The highest prices in the lower 48 states is in New York, Connecticut and California where the average is $3.65 a gallon or higher. The least expensive gasoline prices can be found in South Carolina and Montana where the average is $3.10 per gallon or less.
Last February the average price of 2013 reached its high of $3.79 per gallon, but it is not expected to peak at that level this year. A peak of $3.55 to $3.75 per gallon is expected this year.
Prices remain 8% less than last year during the same period, even though the price of crude is nearly identical. Part of that is due to a plentiful supply of gasoline.
Refiners have left their operations at higher levels to meet demand for heating oil due to such a cold winter and more gasoline as a result has been produced. Added to that is the winter storms across the nation have kept cars off the road.