Gas prices are the highest in four years despite a recent easing in the crude oil market. U.S. drivers are paying roughly 50 cents more per gallon of regular than they were this time last year.
“Over the last year, oil inventories and OPEC specifically, have continued to tighten oil supply and that has caused the price of oil to rise to a level that has brought gas prices up,” says Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
The U.S. Department of Energy is now offering to sell 11 million barrels from our reserves ahead of santions on Iran expected to reduce global supply.
“Really if you point the finger at somebody for why gas prices are much higher this summer than last year, a lot of it has to do with that OPEC policy of cutting and keeping production lower.”
DeHaan says the biggest difference is with premium gasoline, as more turbo charged and luxury cars require it.
“Back during the recession of 2008 hardly anyone was buying premium, but now demand for premium has surged and that's why the price difference between regular and premium is up,” he says.
The average price for regular in Houston is currently $2.59 a gallon, compared to $3.06 in Chicago. The national average is about $2.82 a gallon.