Gas prices going up locally, trend might not end soon, officials say

By Jim McCabe on June 16 at 1:17pm

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Bad news for Jacksonville drivers who plan on taking a trip this summer- gas prices are up, and the upward trend might not be done.

The current low price for a gallon of regular unleaded in Jacksonville is $3.87. That’s 39 cents higher than it was on May 21st. Gas had been on a two-month-long slide that began in mid-April before the trend reversed last month.

Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy.com says a lot of the reason for the price spike has to do with insatiable demand for gas in the Midwest.

“We have seen inventories for gasoline in the region plummet to their lowest May levels since 2000. That has put upward pressure on retail prices, and now here in the last week or so, some developments in Iraq, some perceived threats have driven up oil prices, and we are seeing an impact at the pump as well from that,” he says.

“It’s a stark contrast from what we expected earlier this year, especially with the Iraq situation, but prices have largely been going up here in the last couple weeks because of tight supply and now this new development with Iraq.”

DeHaan says there’s a risk of prices continuing to rise.

“Just given the fact that the Iraq situation is still in its early stages, and we really don’t know if the U.S. is going to participate, the extent of participation in Iraq, and if troops are sent in or if there are airstrikes. That could all have an impact on gasoline process as Iraq is a major oil exporter,” says DeHaan.

“It sounds like there’s some concern that exports could ultimately be disrupted if that violence spreads, and that’s something that really could shake up global oil prices.”

The Illinois average for a gallon of gas is $3.95 per gallon. That compares to the national average of $3.66.

A year ago today, Jacksonville drivers were paying $3.79 per gallon.