Make us your home page

Gas prices trend upward

Gas prices have ticked over $2 a gallon this week, up 10 cents a gallon since the beginning of March, but the increase may just be a return to normal.

Gas prices typically climb this time of year as refineries switch from winter to summer blends, said Gregg Laskowski, a spokesman for AAA. The summer blend is more expensive to produce, and it forces refineries to slow or halt production, reducing gasoline supplies while they make the seasonal switch, Laskowski said.

"This is the time of year that we typically expect to see retail prices going up," Laskowski said.

The reduction in supply has been compounded by a steady rise in oil prices over the past three weeks, said Dave Mica, executive director of the Florida Petroleum Council.

Oil prices surged nearly 9 percent Thursday as investors focused on a weaker dollar, rising stock markets and the hope that the U.S. economy has finally bottomed out. A jump in crude prices can influence everything from how much it costs to fill up at the gas pump to the cost of making golf balls, shampoo and thousands of other petroleum-based products. On Thursday, benchmark crude for May delivery rose $4.25 to settle at $52.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"We're getting a bounce today, but I'm not sure if it will go much higher," said Peter Beutel, an oil analyst at Cameron Hanover. "The market has a lot of reasonably negative factors going into it."

A massive surplus of crude has kept prices low this year, and government reports said that U.S. storage houses are only getting more bloated. They're brimming with more oil than they've had in 16 years as manufacturers shutter factories and millions of laid-off workers stay home.

Mica said it's hard to predict where gas prices will be a month from now. Analysts are looking for any sign of a turnaround, and demand for petroleum products will rebound along with the rest of the economy, Mica said. No one knows when that will happen or whether a rebound will also mean a return to the record-high oil prices seen last year, he said.

Gas prices trend upward 04/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.