Prices at the pump creep higher again, the average price for regular rising to $3.925/gallon as of early this morning. The price is nearly 11% higher Y/Y and at another new record for March. Gasoline ETF: UGA +18.9% YTD.
The average price at the pump creeps higher, rounding up to $3.90/gallon for regular, according to AAA. UGA +20.5% YTD. Beleaguered drivers can take tiny comfort from oil today, not participating in the Bernanke-led stock and commodity rally. WTI crude flat at $106.84.
Although there has been much debate about the economic and political effects of rising gasoline costs, studies indicate that while consumers get angry, the issue doesn't have a particularly big influence on whom they'll vote for. A major reason is that there is division as to whether politicians are even responsible.
While inflation came in below expectations in February, gasoline prices jumped 6% and futures indicate that $4/gallon is not far off, with the average pump price $3.831 on Friday. A major reason is that loss-making North East refineries are being idled or shut permanently as their operators get squeezed by higher oil prices.
Gasoline futures jump on a combination of higher crude and news BP (BP +1.76%) has shut down another unit at a key Texas refinery. This is the second shutdown in two weeks for the facility. UGA +1.5%. USO +1.0%.
The Mississippi flooding is expected to cause billions of dollars in damages, with one economist putting the figure at up to $4B. The deluge is heading towards the Gulf Coast, where many of the U.S.'s biggest refineries are located, hastening the return of $4-a-gallon gasoline.
Russia will suspend gas exports in May to quench domestic demand. Companies had switched fuel flows abroad to capitalize on rising energy prices and avoid domestic price caps. Russia has sent 3M tons of oil products abroad YTD, matching its total for all of 2010.