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Spring means long days, pretty flowers - and expensive gas

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United States
04/07/2012 10:32 PM
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Spring means long days, pretty flowers - and expensive gas
Delta Brogden pumps gas March 16 at a station in Atlanta.

It's a galling time for drivers, and it's more maddening than usual this year. The average price of gasoline could surpass $4 per gallon nationwide as early as this week. It's already $3.93 per gallon, a record for this time of year.

Why the seasonal spike? It's the time of year refineries reduce output to repair equipment and start making a cleaner, more expensive blend of gasoline for summer.

Since 2000, pump prices have risen every year between early February and late May. The annual increase has boosted prices by 27% on average, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. This year, prices have risen 14%, or 48 cents per gallon, since Feb. 1.

"There's always built-in increase, and it's going to be accentuated this year," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.

Gasoline was expensive even before the seasonal run-up. Strong global demand, heightened tensions with Iran and a smattering of supply disruptions have kept crude oil prices elevated for months. The oil used to make most of the gasoline in the U.S. has averaged $120 per barrel this year.

Read More: [link to www.usatoday.com]

Here we go, sadly...
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