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May 24, 2013

Gasoline prices rise in the Midwest as the summer driving season approaches

Map of U.S.gasoline prices, as explained in the article text.
Source: Provided by Gasbuddy.com.

National average gasoline prices were $3.68 per gallon for regular unleaded fuel as of May 24, about the same price as a year ago, according to Gasbuddy.com. However, retail gasoline prices have been rising the past few days, with sizable increases in the Midwest. While retail gasoline prices are similar to last year's level, the spot crude oil price for the West Texas Intermediate benchmark is about $5 per barrel higher than last year at this time.

Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the summer driving season. Leading up to this year's holiday, higher gasoline prices in the Midwest largely reflect supply constraints stemming from refinery outages and lower-than-normal gasoline inventories.

In addition to Gasbuddy.com, the American Automobile Association (AAA) also publishes daily averages for retail gasoline prices throughout the country. Typically, the average gasoline prices in AAA and Gasbuddy are within pennies of each other, and both of those sources are usually within pennies of EIA's weekly retail price survey, which publishes retail prices for Monday mornings every Monday afternoon.

Because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 27, EIA's next weekly survey of retail gasoline and diesel fuel prices will be published on Tuesday, May 28, one day later than normal, although it will still reflect Monday morning prices. EIA will issue an updated forecast of summer gasoline prices in the next Short-Term Energy Outlook on June 11.