Gas prices rise sharply with start of new year

Gas prices rise sharply with start of new year
The nationwide average price of gasoline is sharply higher with the start of the new year and could go higher in the next week or two, according to AAA, the nation's largest organization for motorists.

The nationwide average price of self-serve regular gasoline is $2.322 Jan. 10, AAA's daily, online Fuel Gauge Report (www.aaafuelgaugereport.com) shows.

AAA said gas prices shot up 9.8 cents per gallon in just the last week, as crude oil prices also increased to near $64 per barrel. AAA said most of the increase in gasoline prices can be traced to higher prices for both crude oil and wholesale gasoline.


"Unfortunately motorists that were feeling good about gasoline prices falling in December, now face the prospect of higher prices in the new year," said Cheri Cihak, AAA spokesperson. "Although 2006 prices may not revisit the highs reached after Hurricane Katrina, wise consumers will begin budgeting now for higher fuel costs in 2006. This is because prices typically increase in the spring with the start of seasonal refinery maintenance, and even a modest series of price increases could easily take the price of gasoline near $2.50 per gallon later this year."

The South Dakota state-wide average today is $2.317, while the highest statewide average price is in Hawaii at $2.695 per gallon. The lowest state-wide average gasoline prices in the nation are in Utah at $2.082 per gallon.

Nationwide, the price of self-serve, mid-grade gasoline averages $2.465 per gallon, an increase from $2.304 per gallon in the middle of last month, and up from $1.881 one year ago. Self-serve premium averages $2.554 per gallon, up from $2.338 per gallon one month ago and $1.950 higher than one year ago.

The average price of gasoline in Sioux Falls is $2.33, up 18.6 cents from a month ago, and 56.5 cents higher that last year at this time. In Rapid City, regular unleaded gasoline is averaging $2.269 per gallon, down 1.5 cents from last month, and up 43 cents over last year.

The national average prices for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline for AAA's mid-January survey for the last five years are: 2005, $2.276; 2004, $1.840; 2003, $1.558; 2002, $1.346; and 2001, $1.449.

AAA's Fuel Gauge Report is based on data from Oil Price Information Service, the nation's most comprehensive source of petroleum pricing information. AAA purchases the data and makes it available free on the Internet as a public service. Average daily prices for the nation, all 50 states and more than 250 localities are available for all grades of gasoline, making the site the most current and complete public source of fuel price information.

AAA provides nearly 49 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services.

Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at www.aaa.com.

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