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Pump price increases could be nearing an end
Spring has seen ‘furious price increases’
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The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Utah (+13 cents), Delaware (+12 cents), Rhode Island (+10 cents), Idaho (+9 cents), Massachusetts (+9 cents), Alaska (+9 cents), Nevada (+9 cents), New Jersey (+8 cents), Connecticut (+8 cents) and West Virginia (+8 cents). The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Alabama ($2.51), Mississippi ($2.53), Louisiana ($2.54), Arkansas ($2.56), South Carolina ($2.56), Missouri ($2.58), Oklahoma ($2.61), Tennessee ($2.62), Texas ($2.62) and Kansa

Kansas gas prices have risen five cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.63 per gallon Friday. Still Kansas falls 10th in the list of states with the lower gas prices, the American Automobile Association reported.

It was surprising, noted AAA’s Jeanette Casselano, to only see a jump of a nickle in light of a draw-down in gas stocks and fall in refinery production. Still, after a lull, pump prices continued their upward march into summer.

According to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 1,329 stations in Kansas, gas prices in Kansas are 14.8 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, yet stand 8.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The cheapest station in Kansas is priced at $2.37 at Newton while the most expensive is $2.99, a difference of 59.0 cents per gallon. 

In Great Bend, the price ranged from $2.65 to $2.75. Area prices included $2.65 at Larned , Ellsworth and Russell, and $2.49 at Lyons.  

Neighboring areas and their current gas prices:

Wichita- $2.58, down 5.7 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.64.

Lincoln- $2.88, up 3.0 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.85.

Topeka- $2.65, up 4.8 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.60.

The cheapest price in the entire country today stands at $2.03 while the most expensive is $5.19, a difference of $3.16.

Historical gasoline prices in Kansas and the national average going back a decade:

April 29, 2018: $2.54 (U.S. Average: $2.81) April 29, 2017: $2.21 (U.S. Average: $2.38) April 29, 2016: $1.98 (U.S. Average: $2.20) April 29, 2015: $2.34 (U.S. Average: $2.56) April 29, 2014: $3.49 (U.S. Average: $3.70) April 29, 2013: $3.33 (U.S. Average: $3.50) April 29, 2012: $3.56 (U.S. Average: $3.81) April 29, 2011: $3.77 (U.S. Average: $3.92) April 29, 2010: $2.79 (U.S. Average: $2.86) April 29, 2009: $1.92 (U.S. Average: $2.03)

Why the fluctuation?

“After a quiet week previously, the national average has resumed its upward climb in the last week with average gas prices rising in nearly all states yet again,” said Gasbuddy chief analyst Patrick DeHann. “This spring certainly has brought furious price increases at faster paces than we’ve seen in past years.” 

Oil posted a loss last week, likely responding in part to President Donald Trump’s tweet aimed at oil producers and again asking OPEC to raise production, but it’s not known if the affect on the market will persist or pass into the sunset, he said. Peak prices are likely starting take shape over the next few weeks for some states – mainly in the West Coast – while the national average will likely peak somewhere between two to five weeks from now before falling. 

“The homestretch is quickly coming into view,” DeHaan said. “Perhaps the best news for motorists is they may catch a break in June as prices moderate slightly as refiners finish maintenance and boost production.”

This also comes one week after the U.S. State Department announced the end of waivers for countries to import oil from Iran, increasing crude oil prices and pump prices show no signs of slowing down, Casselano said. With a four-cent jump on the week, today’s national gas price average sets a new high for the year at $2.88. 

This average may only be seven cents more than a year ago, but it is nearly 20 cents more than a month ago and 63-cents more expensive than at the beginning of the year.

“Compared to the beginning of this year, motorists have definitely felt an increasing squeeze on their wallets at the pump,” Casselano said. “These increases mean Americans are having to work more to afford to fill-up their gas tanks.”

AAA found that Americans must work 22 percent longer than at the start of the year to buy one gallon of unleaded gasoline – that’s 7.3 minutes compared to 5.76 minutes in January.

AAA identified the median income for each county in the country broken down to an income by minute assuming a 40-hour workweek. The average gasoline price today was compared to the income per minute finding that counties in the Southeast have been hit the hardest.

“With 17 states within a dime of or already at $3 or more, Americans can expect the national average to likely surpass 2018’s high of $2.97 set during Memorial Day weekend,” said Casselano.

What’s the difference between summer and winter gas blends?

The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasoline involves the Reid vapor pressure of the fuel which measures fuel volatility. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that conventional summer-blend gasoline contains 1.7 percent more energy than winter-blend gas (it has a higher RVP), which is one reason why gas mileage is slightly better in the summer.

Even though winter-blended gasoline is cheaper, consumers may notice that they head to the pump more often in the winter than summer after the same amount of driving.