Gas Prices Climb to $3.38

Posted on: February 18th, 2014 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — If you’ve filled up your tank in the past week or so you’ve probably noticed gas prices increasing. The U.S. Energy Department reports the national average is now at $3.38 per gallon for regular unleaded.

The rising prices are likely due to increasing demand and yearly maintenance work at refineries, according to Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for Gas Buddy. He calls it “March Madness.”

“Not only do a lot of Americans begin to focus on the college basketball tournament dubbed March Madness but this is the time of the year when March Madness infiltrates gas pumps nationally as well,” DeHaan told ABC News Radio.

He said the cold weather blasting the U.S. is boosting consumption of heating oil and other petroleum products. Still, he noted, we’re paying less than we have in recent years, and prices are likely to come back down by the start of the summer travel season in late May or early June.

“That’s when that refinery maintenance will be behind us, as well as the switch-over to summer gasoline will also be complete,” he said, adding, “By and large, 2014 will not feature the same pain at the pump that we saw last year. So even though prices are likely to escalate here in the next month, it still likely won’t be as bad as what we saw last year — so a little light at the end of the tunnel.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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