Tags: Gasoline | Prices | US

Gasoline Prices Vary Widely Across the U.S.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012 08:33 AM

Gasoline prices are averaging around $3.70 a pump, but a gallon could cost way more or way less depending on where you live, experts say.

Drivers in Fort Collins, Colorado, are shelling out about $3 a gallon, while their fellow motorists in Santa Barbara, California, are forking over $4.33 a gallon.

The answer lies in the "chaos" in crude oil prices around the nation, says OPIS energy analyst Tom Kloza, according to CNBC.

"There's never been more diversity in crude oil prices. There's never been more diversity in gasoline prices."

Gasoline is about 40 cents cheaper in the Rocky Mountains and upper plains compared to many other place in the U.S. thanks to cheaper crudes coming into the refineries.

"The fact that a refinery in the Midwest can process crude oil that costs $30 less than on the East Coast is a big factor in the wildly divergent price of that refined fuel," Kloza says.

Crude in the upper Midwest is homegrown and plentiful, while East Coast refiners import oil, which is more expensive and more sensitive to swings stemming from Middle East unrest.

Forget a break anytime soon.

"At this rate, it's a foregone conclusion retail prices will rise another 5 to 15 cents a gallon this week," Kloza says.

Prices in California have soared 26 cents per gallon in just a week, averaging out at $4.29 a gallon for self-serve regular, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing U.S. Department of Energy data.

Blame ongoing tensions between Iran and the West and Israel for the price hike.

"The price of crude probably has a $20 Iranian risk premium built in," says Phil Flynn, an analyst at PFGBest Research, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"If we could see some light at the end of the tunnel from that situation, we could see a big break in prices — but in the short run, we have to feel the pain."

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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 08:33 AM
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