Summer is almost here, and it’s time to break out your walking shoes, your bikes, your roller blades–whatever you’ve got. But it’s not because you need to lose weight. Gas prices will already have you tightening your belts as they have been reaching record highs in some states, beating out prices in 2008 before the financial crisis forced them down. West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Hawaii have all topped their records, with Minnesota and Wisconsin almost there.
And as Americans, we must find somewhere to place the blame. In this case, there’s a whole host of things at fault: the instability in the Middle East; production problems at two Midwestern refineries; outages at refineries in regions hard hit by tornadoes; flooding along the Mississippi that has prevented barges from transporting Oil (NYSE:USO) to the upper Midwest; and apparently there is even a seasonal switchover between winter-blend and summer-blend fuels that is partially to blame for the increased prices. Even President Obama is catching some of the flack. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said that the President “certainly isn’t gonna win” re-election next year if gas prices continue to rise. It turns out there’s something that infuriates Americans even more than terrorists, and that’s spending too much on gas.
Currently the national average is $3.98 per gallon, still below the national average in 2008 of $4.11, but prices in the six states listed above are all above $4, with averages in the top two states, Hawaii and Indiana, at $4.56 and $4.31 respectively. In the small town of Hana, Hawaii, prices have reached $6.03. However, future markets, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and some analysts are all predicting that the prices will soon reach a plateau.
Here’s your Cheat Sheet to how Gas Companies are performing:
PMExxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) dropped 1.5%, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) fell 1.86%, BP (NYSE:BP) dropped 2.4%, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) slid 3.8%, Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) fell 1.59%, Hess (NYSE:HES) crashed 4.46%, and Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) fell hard 5.37%.