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Soaring Summer Temperatures Impact Gas Prices and Refinery Production

Gas Prices Surge Amidst Soaring Summer Temperatures

The scorching heat of summer continues to have a chilling effect on the demand for gas across the United States. However, this relief for consumers at the pump is not without its complications. According to AAA, the national average cost for a gallon of gas has surged, reaching a staggering $3.71. This increase of 13 cents from the previous week has left many drivers wondering about the reasons behind this unexpected spike.

Refinery Production Faces Complications

As the sweltering temperatures persist, so do the challenges faced by oil refineries. The extreme heat has led to several refineries operating at limited capacity or even being temporarily sidelined. As a result, oil prices have skyrocketed, nearing the $80-per-barrel mark. This surge in oil prices inevitably leads to an uptick in gas prices, a trend that consumers have come to expect.

“Gas demand, meaning people fueling up, remains tepid,” explained AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross. “It’s lower now than at this time last year and in 2021. But while the heat may be keeping some folks home, it also suppresses refinery production, according to experts.”

Consumers Feel the Pinch at the Pump

The combination of constrained supplies and higher oil costs is a cause for concern for many consumers. Andrew Gross further elaborated that the scales are tipping toward rising pump prices, and there may be little relief in sight for now. With gas prices showing no signs of abating, drivers are exploring ways to alleviate the burden of increased expenses.

Paying a Premium on State Borders

To add to the already mounting costs, a GasBuddy report reveals that drivers heading across state lines this summer could be shelling out even more for a gallon of gas. Gas prices vary significantly from state to state due to state taxes, proximity to oil refineries, and transportation costs. As a result, certain state borders have become hotspots for higher gas prices.

GasBuddy identified the top five most expensive bordering states for gas prices: Arizona/California, Idaho/Washington, Idaho/Oregon, Nevada/California, and Oklahoma/Colorado borders. Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, issued a warning to drivers, stating, “The difference in gas prices among two bordering states can add up to over $10 on a single tank of gas, potentially costing American travelers hundreds on long road trips in some parts of the country.”

Relief on the Horizon for Used Car Buyers

In the face of soaring prices and interest rates for financing, consumers looking to buy a car have been grappling with affordability concerns. The Federal Reserve’s 11 rate hikes over the past year have left the federal funds rate at its highest level in over two decades, reaching 5.25-5.5%. However, there might be a silver lining for those in the used car market.

Cox Automotive Chief Economist, Jonathan Smoke, provided a glimmer of hope, stating that consumers may soon see relief in the used car market. Retail used prices have already seen a decline of approximately 3% since their peak in April, and rates for used car loans have also dropped to 13.6% in July.

The Road Ahead

As the summer continues to sizzle, so do gas prices, putting a strain on consumers’ wallets. While refinery production grapples with the challenges posed by the extreme heat, drivers are left searching for ways to offset their auto costs. Shopping around for cheaper auto insurance might be one way to alleviate the burden. By comparing quotes from different providers on platforms like Credible, consumers can find a personalized premium without affecting their credit scores.

Moreover, used car buyers might soon find some relief, as prices and financing rates are showing signs of stabilizing. Jonathan Smoke’s optimistic outlook for the used car market offers hope to consumers looking to make a vehicle purchase.

As summer progresses, consumers will continue to monitor gas prices and take measures to ease their financial strain on the road.

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