Summer Gas Prices Could Jump if World Events Trigger Instability
Events in Russia (Ukraine) and the Middle East could cause spikes.
According to information released by AAA, consumers nationally are paying about $3.53 per gallon for regular unleaded fuel this last week. As we head for summer, prices will rise a bit as refineries prepare to switch over to what are called "summer blends" of fuel.
According to the website howstuffworks.com, summer blends are fuels that are refined to have less pollutants, because it's believed warmer weather conditions are more prone to produce pollution from fossil fuels. The validity of this argument won't be debated here, and it would take a long time to explain the difference. But refineries are federally required to do this.
Experts say there shouldn't be any major disruptions domestically, unless there's a refinery fire or other event. But they are keeping an eye on world events, especially Russia and the Ukraine, because Russia has a LOT of oil and gas. Even if we don't get supplies from there, we all know how upheaval and events can cause ripple effects (higher prices) in the world-wide fuel markets.
We like to keep an eye on gasbuddy.com, which tracks in 24-hour increments (sometimes even less) gas prices in virtually every corner of the U.S. Just go to gasbuddy.com and enter your zip code, and it gives you up to date fuel prices at dozens of stations around the area. As of Wednesday, this writing, the lowest prices we found in Kennewick was $3.39 per gallon for regular unleaded. For Pasco, $3.43, and Richland, $3.38. These are subject to change and do go up or down frequently.
Here's hoping gas prices won't keep you from your summer getaway!