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Average gasoline prices top $3.63 a gallon

Rising demand and Middle East worries have pushed prices up 14 cents a gallon in just a week. When can we expect a break?

By Charley Blaine Jul 16, 2013 9:04AM
 Buying gas © moodboard/CorbisGasoline prices started to rise again a week ago, and the jump has been pretty strong: more than 14 cents in a week.

That pump prices are rising shouldn't surprise. Turmoil in the Middle East has allowed many a trader to bid futures prices for crude oil and for gasoline higher in New York and London.

Add to that more domestic demand, and you have a recipe for prices to push higher -- and high enough that two thirds of the increase in the consumer price index in June was gas-price related. The question now is when prices will break. Yes, break, because the history of gasoline prices since at least 2000 strongly suggests that prices will break, possibly before Labor Day.

AAA's daily average price was $3.635 a gallon on Tuesday, up 2.2 cents from $3.613 on Monday and up 14 cents, or 4.6%, from $3.474 on July 8. In three states -- Alaska, Hawaii and California -- the price is above $4 a gallon. The lowest prices appear to be in South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Now, let's be frank: $3.635 a gallon isn't fun, but things could be worse. The 2013 high was $3.786, set Feb. 27. And AAA's highest average price was $4.1144, set on July 17, 2008.
Gasoline started the year at $3.29 a gallon. After the Feb. 27 peak, the price fell to $3.05 on April 28. After a second rally to $3.66 a gallon on May 22, price fell again to $3.474 right at the July 4 holiday.

Gasoline prices are important to watch because they affect your wallet. If prices are rising, you may not drive from, say, Atlanta to Harbor Springs, Mich., for a vacation. Or you'll buy the less-expensive brand of microwave popcorn.

At the same time, rising gasoline prices have proved time and again to be a terrible psychological weight on consumer spending. In 2008, those sky-high gasoline prices slammed sales of homes in the far suburbs of most big metro areas.

They crushed the automobile industry. Didn't matter if the automaker was domestically-based or based outside the United States.

The annualized monthly sales rate dropped 56% from a record 20.6 million units in July 2005 to a 9.02-million-unit rate in 2009. The rate was 15.89 million in June.

Crude oil in New York has been climbing steadily since bottoming at $91.03 on May 1. It settled at $106.32 a barrel on Monday, up 17% since May 1 and up 15.8% this year. Brent crude, the benchmark North Sea oil, is up 8.1% since bottoming at $99.95 a barrel on May 1.

More from MSN Money:
Jul 16, 2013 2:15PM
Gas here is up $0.40 a gallon from 2 weeks ago.  Oil shortage, turmoil-all BS the USA exported more oil than we imported last year.  Stop oil exports!  Lets keep our resources at home.  Stop sending and spending overseas.
Jul 16, 2013 2:07PM

Oil companies can find any reason to hike up gas prices....

Jul 16, 2013 2:09PM

Mr. Do Nothing in Washington will do just that "NOTHING" as long as his buddies get rich from the inflated gas prices. After all what does he care he doesn't have to pay for it.

Just another example why he should be impeached along with a total government overhaul.

What is wrong with the American tax payer, they haven't got the guts to stand up to these idiots that constantly take advantage of us. WE ARE A NATION OF SHEEP !

Then there is foreign aid; the idiots can't  take care of our own needy citizens but give billions away to foreign countries that thumb their noses at us anyway. ARE THESE IDIOTS BLIND ?

Jul 16, 2013 2:07PM
no surprise anymore just the annual price fixing adjustment!
Jul 16, 2013 2:20PM
I don't understand how prices change so drastically so fast, If a vender purchases a load of fuel and marks it up for handling it and set the price at the pump, is his mark up change daily? I don't  another truck load coming every day., and fuel cost on average in a city is based on transportation cost which varies from town to town but in any city it is higher along hiways, This looks like price gouging or price fixing. I don't think our oil companies and government are being honest with us.
Jul 16, 2013 2:34PM
And don't forget that we SUBSIDIZE these bozo's too.  Big oil gets a tax break to screw us like they are. 
Jul 16, 2013 3:07PM
We need Washington to step in & monitor/regulate OIL.  Last week this crap with Egypt started to brew & immediately Wall Street responded with "tensions" & "fears" causing the barrel price to immediately jump to $107.  Now why is it at the pumps the increase to the consumer of .25 to .40 cents per gallon was IMMEDIATE when in theory WALL STREET is bidding on futures which will not be delivered to LATE AUGUST and that is when this increase should have started. 
The answer is plain & us off as often as possible and while the USA is pumping millions of our OWN barrels we ship this out of the country.  Folks, bend over as we are getting screwed & our elected officials in WASHINGTON don't give a $hit about us.

Jul 16, 2013 2:38PM
Big oil doesn't care about you. As long as their back pockets stay full they're happy as a jay bird.
Jul 16, 2013 2:54PM
We need to stop the market using futures as Our Pres said he would a long 4 years ago. The stock market decides the price of oil and it all comes down to the USA, not the overseas markets cause they don't trade on futures. But our Pres does nothing as big oil big banks and the stock market actually run the country.  Shame.
Jul 16, 2013 2:21PM

The best government money can buy!

Besides calling and writing our representatives in Washington that don't care or just pay lip service to you, if you get a response at all. There isn't much else we can do. Except (comment deleted by NSA)

Jul 16, 2013 3:19PM
I really get sick and tired of all the people in these United States constantly bitching about all the problems that we have here in America. If every person in this country that has the right to vote get off of their lazy dead a____ and would go to their polling places, that would be the time to get rid of all of the incumbents and idiots that are running our country right now. I mean republican and democrats alike. The sad thing about this situation is that its the people in this country that listen to all of the B.S. that they are fed. I never realized that there was such stupidity in this country!!!!   
Jul 16, 2013 3:22PM
This is the "new" tactic. Mark my words... this is the way it'll be for a while. The excuses won't change but the timing will. It used to be that gas prices would rise just before a holiday. These days, they rise after the holiday is over. This has been happening for a bit now. Watch for the next holiday & you'll see. It doesn't matter what the excuse is.... it's always the same rehashed story.... refinery is down, middle east turmoil, blah, blah, blah. Corporate American is simply bilking the people for whatever they can... unchecked.

Jul 16, 2013 2:56PM
Lets see how high and quickly they jump when the first hurricane makes it in to the Gulf this year
Jul 16, 2013 2:36PM
Thanks Obama for our suffering you have imposed.  Looking forward to your moving out, sooner the better.....
Jul 16, 2013 3:12PM
how about the fact you cant go anywhere because its so expensive
Jul 16, 2013 2:54PM
where does this information come from?  The gas goes up 30-40 cents in 1 day where I live??  What a bunch of
Jul 16, 2013 3:21PM
Big oil company are bidding up crude oil price so they can raise gas prices with the inventory they have.
Jul 16, 2013 2:59PM
Thanks to the Democrat Party and its supporters in the radical environmentals whacko movement, we are paying more and more for gas. It has averaged near 3.50 a gallon for all 5 years of Obama's rule. Due to the Democrat Party and its Leftist Allies. Our country has not been allowed to build a single new modern gasoline refinery in nearly 30 years, yet our consumption has only risen. The refineries are at full capacity for output. Any glitch in the system costs money. Oil companies are mandated to bake boutique blends of gasoline based upon the season. The summer blend is different from the winter blend. Chicago's blend is different from LA's blend. Every time the refineries change blends they have to shut down certain lines of production and ramp up others which decreases availability of gasoline and drives up costs. The funny thing is that the working class and the poor, who the Democrat Party hail as the backbone of this country and the democrat party holds itself up as the saviors of, are the ones most harmed by the environmental policies of the Obama Regime, the Democrat Party AND the Democrat Party supporting Leftist Environmental Whacko Movement.
Jul 16, 2013 3:07PM
Because of the insanity of printing money and ignoring the phony debt ceiling, massive inflation is headed our way.  If you put your faith in money, and not God, you are going to pay a big price in the near future for your wrong choice.
Jul 16, 2013 3:15PM
Obama could consent to put the pipeline through instead of "studying" it. That would give us some immediate relief. His next step should be to institute a sur-tax on any oil company that raises its prices over a certain amount, the tax to be used to repair our Social Security mess.
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