Prices at the pump are primed for a big jump in the next two to three weeks.
The transition from “winter blend” to “summer blend” gasoline always brings increases in retail gasoline prices, but the bump could be bigger than usual, according to GasBuddy, a company that operates websites and mobile aps that track gas prices.
“Wednesday brought a big price rally in gasoline markets, and gasoline wholesalers are seeing huge increases,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said in a release. “Wholesale prices today alone have increased coast to coast from 10 to 27 cents per gallon, and when you add that on top of the increases that occurred earlier this month, it’s inevitable that retail prices will climb aggressively in weeks ahead.”
Since Feb. 2, wholesale prices nationwide have increased by an average of 54 cents per gallon, the release said.
While some of the rally is attributed to the seasonal decline in gasoline inventory, reduced refinery output and the shift to summer grades of gasoline, there have also been significant operational issues at refineries in five states. And the United Steelworkers Union strike that began Feb. 1 exacerbated operations at 12 refineries.
“Volatility is the name of the game right now, and we expect that to translate into 10-cent increases in retail gasoline, week after week over the next two to three weeks,” DeHaan said.