Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gas Prices Remain Steady as 2013 Begins

U.S. drivers are keeping fingers crossed so that 2013 doesn’t begin like the previous year when it comes to gas prices, but it seems that prices are staying down as of now. The average price of gasoline is now $3.30 a gallon, up about half a penny since January 1. The situation was different in the beginning of 2012 when the prices went up 10 cents in the first week and finally hit $4 in April.

Oil prices will govern what happens with pump rates. The economies in U.S. and China are showing some improvement, but Europe still remains plunged in recession – in general, economic factors affecting oil prices are mixed. In the last 2 years in the Middle East, threats to shipments of oil from the region drove crude prices higher during the winter, thereby increasing the pump prices by spring.

On Monday, benchmark crude went up 10 cents to finish at $93.19 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude rose 9 cents to end at $111.40 per barrel in London. The average cost for a gallon was $3.60 in 2013 in the U.S., eclipsing the record of $3.51 a gallon set in 2011, according to AAA. Prices were always high unplanned outages plagued refineries across the U.S. such as Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy.

The calculations of the Energy Department show that gas will average $3.43 a gallon this year due to an anticipated decline in Brent crude, which is a benchmark for oil imported on the U.S. East Coast, to an average of $104 a barrel. Drivers in Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming are paying below $3 a gallon on average, whereas Hawaii is the only state above $4.

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