April 16, 2014

More pain at the gas pump, but fall should bring relief

Gasoline prices have risen 23-cents a gallon in Nebraska in the past month.

AAA spokesman Tom Crosby says several factors are to blame, including a fire at a Chevron refinery in northern California and the demand of the summer driving season.

The biggest reason, Crosby says, is the continued drought.

Crosby says, “Farmers selling the corn for ethanol at a higher price than they would for farm animals is creating problems for food but it also creates problems for us because the price of that ethanol goes up and that gets translated when you’re buying gas with 10% ethanol.”

Nebraska is the nation’s number-two ethanol producer, behind only Iowa. AAA says the average price for a gallon of self-serve unleaded gas in Nebraska is $3.70, up from $3.47 a month ago. The national average is also $3.70.

Crosby says gas prices are projected to keep climbing for the time being, but they should start to gradually fall within a month, perhaps less.

“We’ll see prices continue to creep up because of both the Chevron fire, the fact that these are the last driving weeks of the summer, and the drought in the Midwest,” Crosby says. “After Labor Day, prices should drop as driving drops and as the more expensive blends that are made for the upper Northeast are curtailed.”

Nebraska’s highest-ever average gas price was recorded in July of 2008 at $4.10 a gallon.