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4 reasons why gas prices just jumped 40 cents

Prices spiked to $2.69 across Cincinnati
Posted: 1:25 PM, Mar 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-20 13:56:52-04
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Robert Wise was filling up at the Speedway station in Covington, shaking his head at this week's price spike to $2.69 a gallon. It is the highest price since fall 2018.

"Up 40 cents in one day," he said. "It was just over $2 a couple of days ago, so that's ridiculous.

Michelle McKay — who brought her dog Blondie along to help fill up her car — was wishing she had purchased gas just 24 hours earlier.

"I should have gotten gas yesterday," she said.

Most stations in the Greater Cincinnati area were in the $2.19 - $2.29 range on Monday. 9 On Your Side's "Cheap Gas Monday" segment featured stations as low as $2.08.

But that was then....this is now. "40 cents is honestly dishonest," Wise said.

Reasons for recent price increases

Anytime there is a big spike in gas prices, especially in early Spring, there isn't any one single reason for it.

It's typically a combination of rising oil prices and the start of spring driving season, when demand increases.

However, this time, other factors are involved as well, according to AAA and GasBuddy.com.

Analysts cite four reasons right now.

  • Higher crude oil: It has risen from just about $50 to $58 a barrel in 2019 so far, mostly due to OPEC cuts this year.
  • Low fuel supplies at refineries, due to end of winter refinery maintenance.
  • The transition to spring/summer blended fuel: All gasoline sold in the US must be switched to a more expensive blend by May 1, to combat summer smog.
  • The Houston chemical tank fire: While gasoline was not lost, the fire burned through seven tanks containing petrochemicals used to boost gasoline octane.

Analysts predict prices topping out at just below $3 around Memorial Day, but say any disruption could send prices higher than last year.

Driver Stanley Moore had these wise words, as he filled up his car. "It's like sunshine in July," he said. "There's really nothing you can do about it."

Nothing at all, except drive less.

As always, don't waste your money.

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