Though an end to winter and Great Lakes refinery issues mean pain at the pump for some, low crude oil prices are a governor on gas prices, AAA said.
Motor club AAA reports a national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for Tuesday at $2.42, relatively unchanged in recent days. For the West Coast, California had the highest state average at $3.26, about 27 cents above the price one month ago. Illinois had the highest price for the Great Lakes region with a state average of $2.64, more than 25 cents above the average price last month.
AAA said in a weekly gasoline report regional refinery issues were largely behind the increase in gasoline prices in some markets. Warmer temperatures on the West Coast mean more drivers on the road, which crimps demand already squeezed by refinery issues near Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area.
"Dramatic price swings are unfortunately nothing new for Midwest drivers who have seen frequent price volatility in recent years," the motor club said. "This most recent increase has been keyed by issues at two major regional refineries: BP's refinery in Whiting, Ind. and Exxon Mobil's refinery in Joliet, Ill."
The national average price is still about $1.10 less per gallon than it was on this date in 2014. With crude oil prices at or near six-year lows, AAA said gasoline prices should remain low when compared with past years.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline has fallen for 14 of the last 17 days.