Refinery Closures Send Gas Prices to Near 4-Month High

Tuesday, 19 Feb 2013 | 9:03 AM ET
Will Gas Price Spike Curb Demand?
CNBC's Sharon Epperson looks ahead to key energy reports this week. Retail gasoline demand data released by MasterCard SpendingPulse on Wednesday will likely show impact of higher prices on U.S. consumers, she says. Traders and analysts are also anxiously awaiting this week's report on gasoline supplies and demand from US Energy Information Administration, scheduled for release at 11am ET on Thursday.

You're paying more at the pump and prices are likely to continue to climb as we head into the summer driving season — particularly in the Northeast.

Gasoline prices rose to a near four-month high in the U.S. Tuesday, fueled by a number of refinery closures.

The Automobile Association of America reported that national retail prices for regular gasoline are up 13 percent to an average $3.748 a gallon from a month ago, up from $3.604 a week ago and up 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

About one million barrels per day of refining capacity has been taken off line on the East Coast and St. Croix, as the industry responds to low margins and shrinking demand. In January, Hess announced plans to close its Port Reading, N.J., refinery, while refinery shutdowns and planned repairs have cut into gasoline supplies in many parts of the country.

Inventories have also been constrained by refinery closures and mechanical problems that occurred in the wake of super storm Sandy.

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