In the last week, seven states have seen their average price rise to $4 or more for a gallon of regular gasoline, bringing the total to 13 states plus the District of Columbia at or above the $4 mark: Hawaii, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Alaska, New York, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Washington state and Washington, D.C. Several analysts are predicting that the majority of states will see $4 a gallon gas by the end of the week.
According to the AAA Fuel Gauge report:
Last week began with reports of continuing and increasing unrest in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, and the wider Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) region taking a backseat to domestic news — a departure from what has been a geopolitical focus the last several months. The news of increasing MENA instability, for much of 2011, would have been expected to be the driver of higher crude oil prices. Government forces fired on protestors in Syria; NATO-led bombing continued in Libya with no quick return crude production expected; and OPEC-member and Africa’s top oil-producing nation, Nigeria, saw reports of post-election violence.
While this news did add upward pressure to crude oil prices on the week, the bulk of attention was focused on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) weekly report and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) two day meeting that was capped by an unprecedented press conference by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. The DOE report showed a tenth consecutive week of drawdown in U.S. gasoline supply. While a decline is not unusual at this time of year, as suppliers lower stocks during the switch from winter- to summer-blend gasoline, this most recent report has stocks at 205.6 million barrels — 18.1 million barrels below the same period last year. It is worth noting that these numbers came alongside data that showed a slight week-over-week increase in gasoline demand.
Some analysts have speculated this data could capture demand for travel during the Easter weekend, which may be masking the extent of demand destruction taking place. Traders will be closely watching this week’s DOE report for a clearer picture of the impact that high prices at the pump are having on demand for gasoline. This upward pressure on crude oil prices was compounded by Chairman Bernanke’s announcement that the Fed would continue efforts to stimulate economic growth through low interest rates. This monetary policy is expected to continue the devaluation of the dollar. As the dollar loses value, the price of U.S. commodities, such as crude, are driven higher as they become relatively cheaper to buyers holding foreign currencies.
If your livelihood is tied to transportation costs, then high gas prices can have a huge impact on your bottom line. A GPS fleet tracking system can help you to reduce your fuel expenses and become more efficient in delivering your product or service.