Published: Tue, January 30, 2018
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Gas prices near $3 per gallon in Meadville area

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said prices in many places are the highest since Hurricane Harvey, which forced a temporary shutdown of about a quarter of the nation's refining capacity.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.34 in Lauderdale County and $2.32 in Colbert County, according to the survey. The statewide average was $2.58, up 17 cents from a month ago and 22 cents from a year ago.

Prices stood at $2.65 per gallon on December 26 and have steadily gone up, resulting in an increase of $4.50 for a 15-gallon fill-up. "This year, gas prices are nine cents more than they were on January 1, a possible indication that prices in 2018 will likely be more expensive than last year". Oil prices are up $15 per barrel since October, largely due to a tightening global oil market, AAA said. The Energy Information Administration reports an increase on the week in gasoline demand and a decrease in inventories.

Broward County motorists could still find gas for $2.49 in about a dozen scattered stations, although a small price skirmish broke out on East State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale, just east of Interstate 95, with a Marathon and a Valero priced at $2.45 and a RaceTrac close behind at $2.47. That could foreshadow higher prices to come even before refiners switch to pricier, summer-grade fuels around March.

The price of gasoline inched up again last week in Valdosta, according to statistics. That was a result of the oil market becoming oversupplied with crude as US production reached its highest levels in decades.

"Historically, that has caused gas prices to rise 30 to 75 cents, as a result", Jenkins added. "During their downtime, these refineries reduce the amount of gasoline they put out into the market".

AAA found gas selling for as low as $2.45 per gallon and as high as $2.66 in Rhode Island. "It's unclear exactly how the market will absorb these shifting fundamentals, but motorists may want to be ready".

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