U.S. gas prices have jumped to a 19-month high as oil refineries started their change-over to more expensive summer-blend gasoline and maintenance issues at two refineries.
AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher told the Chicago Tribune that maintenance issues with the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, and Phillips 66's Wood River refinery in southern Illinois caused regional prices to jump faster than most other areas.
"We see this all the time in the spring," Mosher told the newspaper. "It sounds like you flip a switch . . . but there's actually a lot of maintenance and preparation involved in it."
According to statistics provided by AAA, gas prices for regular fuel averaged $2.392 this week, up from $2.300 last week and $2.044 from a year ago.
Hawaii and Washington, D.C., had the highest gas averages, from $3.055 to $2.505, according to AAA. The group said the cheapest oil prices were found in South Carolina ($2.11), Alabama ($2.14), Tennessee ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.14), Oklahoma ($2.15), Arkansas ($2.16), Virginia ($2.19), Louisiana ($2.19), Missouri ($2.20), and Texas ($2.21).
"I think we're going to get another 10 to 20 cents" this spring, Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, told CNBC. "Anything beyond that would be event-driven."
Kloza told CNBC that he expects oil to stay in the mid-$50s per barrel, but that can all change because of unknown factors, like geopolitical disputes in oil-sensitive regions or natural disasters like hurricanes.
AAA stated that crude oil futures opened Monday trading at their highest level in more than a month because of Middle East tensions. An armed group blocked a pipeline leading to an oil terminal in Libya, shutting down production there Sunday, the agency noted.
Crude oil also rallied but leveled out following last week's U.S. missile strike against a Syrian airbase amid fears that further unrest in the region could lead to oil supply disruptions.
"I think [gasoline] can go higher. It really all depends on the oil market and we're seeing risk premium," Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told CNBC.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.