This rapid-fire increase can't last, but it's painful to watch. Latest numbers from the Auto Club show that an average gallon of regular is $4.186, up nearly a quarter from last week and 44 cents higher than last month. From the release:
"Gas prices were already jumping by two to three cents a day when on Friday one of California's major out-of-state gas suppliers, a Washington refinery, caught fire and will be shut down for at least a few weeks," said Auto Club spokesperson Jeffrey Spring. "That news sent prices soaring even more quickly and prices are now within 10 to 20 cents of the high point for 2011 prices reached last May."
Oil prices were up sharply today, with NY crude futures trading at $107.83 a barrel, up $1.55, and brent crude - often cited as the more accurate measure of fuel prices - running at $123.62 a barrel. Some of the increase is due to the continued standoff with Iran (traders factor those concerns in the price). Unfortunately, the traditional demand/supply gauges don't work very well because there are so many other variables to consider - stuff like global demand and refinery capacity. Actually, U.S. oil inventories were up last week. That's just it - lower U.S. demand is not causing the price to drop.