Monday, September 27, 2010

Crude oil rising; could push gasoline prices up, AAA says

Gasoline prices are about to begin trending upward again, although probably not significantly, according to the latest Fuel Price Brief from AAA.
While the average price of unleaded regular gasoline in Nashville today is $2.54 a gallon, 2 cents a gallon less than last week, the price of crude oil has risen nearly $3 a barrel in the past few days, which will push gasoline prices up as well, AAA said. Tennessee’s statewide average for gasoline is $2.55 a gallon, down nearly 3 cents from last week.

The shutdown of an Exxon refinery in Texas for the next few weeks and the weakness of the U.S. dollar against the euro are being blamed for the higher price of crude and the impending gasoline price hikes.

“Crude oil is stuck between $70 and $80 and will most likely yo-yo up and down in this price range for quite some time,” said AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady.

“As with any increase in the price of crude oil, retail gas prices will move in the same direction,” she said. “Consumers will see slight increases in gas prices this week, but it’s very likely we will see the price of crude move lower next week, unless the dollar remains weak.”

Exxon is closing the refinery to switch it over to producing winter gasoline blends from summer blends, the auto club said. The refinery, which processes more than 344,000 barrels of oil daily, will be closed for “several weeks,” Brady said.

The national average price of unleaded regular is $2.70 a gallon, down 3 cents from last week, the auto club reported.

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