Nothing like a like a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, a refinery fire in Venezuela and an upcoming holiday travel weekend to create the perfect storm for higher gasoline prices.
Nationwide, gasoline prices rose a half-cent a gallon to $3.756 on average for regular unleaded, AAA reported. Most prices in the Pittsburgh area are even higher.
"As of Tuesday afternoon four major refineries, totaling more than one-million barrels per day of refining capacity, have announced their planned closure. These refineries make up about half of the production capacity in the region where Hurricane Isaac is expected to make landfall," AAA spokesman Michael Green said.
Add to that, a deadly explosion and fire at Venezuela's largest oil refinery, and some experts predict price hikes of 5 to 15 cents a gallon by Labor Day.
Right now, the cheapest gasoline in Scott Township can be found at the Shell station along Painters Run Road, according to PittsburghGasPrices.com. Regular unleaded is selling there for $3.73 a gallon. Other “cheaper” gas in the area includes the in Heidelberg, which is selling unleaded for $3.74 a gallon.
Some of the highest of the highest prices in the area are near the Bridgeville interstate exit, where all three gas stations along Washington Pike, and and the former Exxon station, are all selling unleaded for $3.85. The right off the Interstate 79 exit, however, is practically giving it away for $3.75 a gallon.
For perspective, the average price of regular unleaded was selling for $3.71 a gallon a week ago, $3.48 a gallon a month ago, and $3.61 a gallon a year ago in the Pittsburgh area, according to AAA.