Gasoline Futures Soar to Three-Month High
Gasoline futures rose to the highest level in nearly three months, due worries about tight supplies after a series of refinery issues on the East Coast.
February RBOB gasoline futures climbed to nearly $2.86 a gallon, the highest intraday price for a front-month contract since October. Gasoline futures have risen more than 10 cents in a week.
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Retail gasoline prices have also been on the rise. The national average is $3.32 a gallon, up 7 cents from a month ago and 3 cents in the past week.
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Scheduled maintenance this month at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery (former Sunoco plant) — the largest on the East Coast — and a gasoline-processing unit at Delta Airlines' refinery in Trainer, Penn., that will down until late February are contributing to worries about supplies.
But due to flagging demand, analysts do not expect pump prices to reach last spring's highs.
"The strength is really in the futures market and on the East Coast," says OPIS analyst Tom Kloza. "I don't think (the national average for) retail prices will get close to the $3.90s (a gallon) like we saw last April."
—By CNBC's Sharon Epperson; Follow her on Twitter: @sharon_epperson