Article courtesy of USA TODAY and 24/7 Wall St. via ‘The Rundown’
U.S. gasoline prices have fluctuated between $3.40 and $3.60 for the past few months. As of Tuesday, the average fuel price nationwide was $3.63 per gallon, up from $3.48 per gallon a week ago. This recent spike has some drivers wondering if the price of gas will reach $4.00 by the end of the summer.
In some states, the price of gas is already above $4.00, and others are very close to crossing that mark. Gas prices in nine states were at least $3.80 a gallon as of Tuesday. In some cases, prices are higher because of the difficulty of transporting oil there. In other cases, high gas taxes are the culprit. Based on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, which monitors gas prices nationwide, these are the states with the most expensive gas.
Gas prices increased nearly 5% in the past week as the price of crude oil has risen over $100 per barrel. Crude prices have shot up partially as a result of the political unrest in Egypt. While the country is not a major producer, there is concern that serious violence could result in the Suez Canal – an important route for oil shipping – being closed off. The effects of investors unwinding speculative trades in oil also may be driving prices up.
When it comes to high gas prices in some states, one consideration is where the gas is coming from. Some states with high gas prices, such as New York and Connecticut for example, have to transport in a large portion of their refined gasoline from far away. Connecticut, which has no operating refineries of its own, has to import all of its fuel. California, which also has among the most expensive gas, still imports a great deal of refined fuel, despite the fact that it has refineries. Transportation is mostly via tanker, which can be expensive.
The price at the pump is often heavily influenced by the amount tacked on by the state’s gas tax. Of the nine states with the highest gas prices, seven have among the 10 highest gas taxes in the country. This includes California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut and Michigan, which have the highest total taxes in the nation – in that order. California’s total state and federal gas tax amounts to 71.9 cents per gallon, higher than the national average of 49.5 cents.