Gasoline Hits High of $1.68 in D.C
Baker, Chris, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Gasoline prices in the District hit a record high yesterday after two weeks of penny-per-day increases, according to AAA.
The average price of a gallon of self-service, regular gas in the city is $1.68, a 14-cent climb over the last two weeks.
The average in the Washington area, including the city and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs, has jumped to $1.63 - a 13-cent increase in the last 14 days. That figure is 2 cents shy of the regional record of $1.65 set July 7.
The current national average is $1.60, up 10 cents during the last two weeks and 7 cents below the record high set June 21.
"Motorists should be concerned because we're still two months away from the big summer-travel period when demand for gas usually peaks," Justin McNaull, public-affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.
AAA has conducted gas-price surveys all week, after a report Monday that prices in the Washington area rose 7 cents between April 11 and April 16.
Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA, said one reason for the price spike is because the nation's oil reserve is low. Oil companies have not refined as much gasoline as usual because they had to make home-heating oil to meet the winter demand, Mr. Anderson said.
The American Petroleum Institute said this week gasoline inventories are 4 percent below last year's levels. But refineries increased production rates by 2.3 percent last week from the week before to 92.6 percent of capacity, the highest level in a year.
The dropping gasoline supplies and rising inventories of crude oil have boosted profits for refiners. Profit for refining three barrels of the benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude is $10.06, double the average for the year and near the record high of $12. …