Gas prices continue push upward

The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was at $3.85 on Friday, up three cents from a week ago, 30 cents from a month ago and 99 cents higher than a year ago.

The price at the pump has gone up 78 cents since the beginning of 2011. The push upward this week came from increases in trading in crude-oil, which was at $112.29 a barrel on Thursday, up 2.4 percent on the week.

“Easter weekend is here and Memorial Day weekend is just five weeks away, which has motorists wondering just how high will gas prices climb before the unofficial start of summer arrives,” said Martha M. Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The (crude oil) market’s momentum makes it impossible to rule out $4.00 a gallon gasoline by Memorial Day, despite some analysts’ predictions to the contrary, however we remain cautiously optimistic that we’ll see some gas price stability in the coming weeks.”

In its weekly report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed crude stocks fell unexpectedly by 2.3 million barrels to 357.0 million barrels, compared to analysts’ expectations for a 1.1 million barrel build. Gasoline stocks fell for the ninth straight week by 1.6 million barrels to 208.1 million barrels, which was in line with expectations. Nationwide demand sagged 119,000 barrels per day (BPD) to 9.062 million barrels, 1.8 percent lower compared to the same week a year ago.

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