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Gasoline prices in the US hit a new record

Retail gasoline prices in the US increased sharply. (Artwork – Photo: The Mercury News)

Gas price U.S. retail sales have surged as global refiners grapple with supply chain bottlenecks that have sent prices soaring ahead of the summer travel season.

At the beginning of May 10, the average cost of a gallon (3.78 liters) of gasoline retailed at $4,374, beating the previous record of $4,331, the American Automobile Association said.

Since March 30, the North Sea Brent oil price has fallen 7%, but gasoline futures increased 9.4% and reached a record of $ 3,7590 a gallon on May 6 before falling again on May 9. .

Refinery closures related to scheduled maintenance and unplanned disturbances have raised fuel prices even as the United States and other countries have taken steps to boost crude supplies around the world. world.

According to a recent survey, rising fuel prices have forced about two-thirds of vehicle owners in the US to change their travel habits.

The world’s fuel stockpiles are dwindling as demand has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Supply tightened further after Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions against Russia from the US and its allies.

Mike Jennings, CEO of HF Sinclair Corp, estimates the world has lost 1 million barrels of refining capacity and 1.5 million barrels of oil since the pandemic. This is equivalent to 2.5% of world consumption, which is a large number, according to Mr. Jennings.

In the spring, refineries prioritize gasoline production before warmer weather, when travel activity increases. However, in recent weeks, refineries have increased distillation output to meet jet fuel and diesel demand in Europe, Latin America and the US, as Western sanctions mount. Russia has restricted its exports.

Diesel prices hit a record $5.45/gallon at gas stations this week. The price of US crude oil, the biggest input cost for refineries, has fallen by nearly $20 from a March high reached in 2022, helped by the US release of millions of barrels of oil. crude from strategic stockpiles and demand in China fell due to the impact of blockade measures.

However, according to the US Energy Information Administration, the amount of product in stockpiles is still decreasing. US gasoline stocks fell 3% year-on-year in 2021 to 228.6 million barrels.

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