Gas prices expected to rise during summer driving season

The July 30 national average price for regular gasoline is $3.62 per gallon, a nickel less than a week ago and the 11th consecutive daily decline.

However, the national price at the pump is still 13 cents more than on July 30, 2012, and is the third highest price on record for this calendar day. U.S. motorists are paying nine cents less than the same day in 2011 and 31 cents less than the all-time record of $3.93 for this date in 2008.

With one day remaining in July, the national average has jumped 13 cents on the month to date. This is slightly below the 16 and 17-cent July increases in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

While the national average has declined recently, AAA continues to expect that prices will ultimately rise through the end of the busy summer driving season.

This increase is expected because of rising summertime demand for gasoline, expensive crude oil prices, and the possibility of refinery glitches or supply disruptions from Gulf Coast hurricanes.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have pulled back somewhat from the 16-month high of $108.05 per barrel on July 19, however they remain elevated due to positive signs for the global economy, continued unrest in Egypt and new reports of violence in Libya.

Egypt is not a major oil producer; however it does have control over both the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline, which are key points of transit for the global crude oil supply in the Middle East. Libya normally produces 1.6 million barrels per day of crude oil – two percent of global oil consumption.

At this level, it is the world’s 17th-largest crude producer and Africa’s third-largest, along with holding the continent’s largest crude oil reserves. As U.S. motorists will remember, violence and instability in Libya drove pump prices sharply higher in the spring of 2011.

While there is no reason to expect that current instability in the country will be as dramatic as 2011, the markets will continue to closely monitor the situation.

A not-for-profit organization, AAA South Dakota serves its 91,000 members across South Dakota with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through branch offices, and the Internet at AAA.com.

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