The national average price for a gallon of gasoline may rise above $2 soon.
A gallon of gas averaged $1.99 in the United States late Monday afternoon, according to GasBuddy.com. The average price has risen 5 cents in the past week.
The average price for a gallon of gas in Houston was $1.84 on Monday afternoon, up 6 cents from last week. Overall, a gallon gas in Texas costs $1.82.
The price of a barrel of oil wavered on Monday, but finished strong to close at $39.91, a 47 cent increase.
“With the U.S. average price of gas closing in on the $2 level, a price not seen since late December, it reflects a real paradox,” GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Greg Laskoski said. “We see simultaneously both a stark increase – 25 cents per gallon in the past few weeks – and a reminder of how much we’re still saving.”
Gas prices usually rise in the springtime and peak around Memorial Day. The way crude oil is processed plays a significant role in price increases. Refineries often shut down for seasonal maintenance, known as turnaround, in the first quarter when demand for gasoline is lowest.
Companies also schedule turnarounds between peak heating oil season and peak summer drive season to allow refineries to retool for summer-blend fuels.
One year ago, prices at the pump were 45 cents higher, despite the recent hike in costs. A month ago, prices in the Houston area were below $1.50 per gallon.
In the Midland-Odessa area, prices averaged $1.84 per gallon.
In North Dakota, a gallon of gasoline averaged $1.97. In the center of the Bakken formation, gasoline in Watford City, N.D., averaged $1.99.
In Pennsylvania, gas averaged $2.06 a gallon. Drivers could purchase a gallon of gas for $2.07 in Pittsburgh.