CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) -- Gasoline prices climbed 8.82 cents a gallon in the past three weeks as a new kind of reformulated gas made its way to the pumps, giving some cities an average price of more than $2 a gallon.
High crude oil prices, rising demand and new antismog regulations affecting 17 metropolitan areas pushed the nationwide average cost to $1.6723 a gallon Friday, analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday. That compares to the May 19 Lundberg Survey of 10,000 stations nationwide that found a national average of $1.5841.
''We are in a nightmare of patchwork-quilt environmental regulations which wreak havoc with gasoline supply and price stability,'' Lundberg said. ''The wide variety of regulations affecting formulas has created wide price disparities around the country and made distribution of gasoline more problematic.''
Metropolitan areas with some of the worst air pollution in the nation were required by June 1 to start using a new kind of gas that is designed to preserve air quality.
Dealers in the Midwest, where many cities use a kind of reformulated gas that is blended with the corn derivative ethanol, are paying 26 cents more at wholesale, Lundberg said. Consequently, some retailers have sacrificed profit margin to remain competitive.
In Chicago, one of the 17 metro areas affected by the new regulations, the average price for a gallon of self-serve regular was $2.13, Lundberg said. That price marks the first time on record that a city's overall average price for gas has topped $2, she said.
By contrast, Phoenix came in with the lowest average price with a gallon of self-serve regular costing $1.39.
Lundberg predicted gasoline prices might drop slightly in coming weeks, especially if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decides to increase production this month. But the price won't come near last year's weighted average on June 11 of $1.19.
Although the latest prices appear to be the highest on record, they are actually lower than gas prices were at their peak in 1981, Lundberg said.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.