Thursday, August 16, 2012

Reduced supplies cause gas prices to skyrocket in Tampa area

Gas prices around the Tampa region have reached above $3.60 at many stations, and could creep up further until winter kicks in.

That's up about 25 cents per gallon in the last month.

European sanctions on Iran are curtailing oil supplies, as are disruptions at some West Coast refineries. Some tropical storms also helped push oil up to $92.87 per barrel last week, up $1.47 from a week before.

"Hopefully, retail prices will drop after the Labor Day holiday when demand tends to fall and we switch to a cheaper fuel blend," said AAA Spokeswoman Jessica Brady. That winter blend is less expensive for refineries to produce than summer blends that are tuned to reduce emissions. That switch often cuts 5 to 10 cents from each gallon at the pump.

Nationally, a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline now averages $3.692, up from $3.388 a month ago, but even with last year.

That's thanks to "an onslaught of refinery problems – mainly in the Great Lakes and California," said Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "While these situations are temporary in nature, it goes to show this nations dependence on domestic refineries."

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