February 25, 2011 – By Mason Williams
The price of gasoline jumped 6 cents in the last day. According to AAA, the average national price per gallon of unleaded fuel rose to $3.287, nearly eclipsing the 7 cent increase seen the previous six days. The price of gas is now at its highest levels since October 2008. Yesterday’s price increase represents the biggest single day spike in almost three years.
Driving the increase in the price of gas was a rise in the cost of crude oil, which is now priced at $97.88 per barrel, up 13 percent for the week. Generally, for every $1 increase in the price of a barrel of oil, retail gasoline rises 2.5 cents per gallon.
The rise in prices are being attributed to the unrest in the Middle East, particularly Libya, which is experiencing widespread civil unrest. Yet despite the upheaval, relatively little oil has so-far been taken off the world market. However, aiming to calm market fears, Saudi Arabia has declared it would increase oil production to make up for any potential shortfalls.
Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, said “This will definitely be the most expensive February ever.”
In the United States, the state of Hawaii currently has the highest average price per gallon, at $3.757 and Wyoming has the lowest at $3.014. However, many individual stations in metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles are already reporting prices over $4 per gallon.