Drivers brace for higher gas prices

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Including the change in gas prices in Hawaii during the past week, prices yesterday were 67.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 2.6 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

"Motorists should expect a 15-cent increase at the pump in the short term", AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said in a statement.

As recently as April 9, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said: "As markets have seen concern rise of a possible trade war between the US and China, oil prices have been hit hard, leading gas prices to dramatically slow their recent ascent".

Average retail gasoline prices in Honolulu have risen 6.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.42 per gallon on April 14, 2018, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 214 gas outlets in Honolulu. The state average Monday was $2.63 per gallon, just two cents above last week - though up a dime in the last month. The average gas price in the region is $2.60 (Ohio, $2.59).

In South Carolina, the state average is $2.48, a 5-cent increase on the week.

Monday's average prices in South Central Ohio averaged $2.63, while last week's average price was listed at $2.58.

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The tension in the Middle East and fears of USA sanctions against Syria's sponsors - Russian Federation and Iran - have prompted a tightening of global crude oil supplies.

Although Syria has not exported oil since 2011, when its civil war began, it does receive fuel from Iran.

EIA data also shows that domestic crude production in the USA hit a new record high of 10.53 million b/d on in early April. "However, higher oil prices have also enticed US producers to ramp up crude oil exports, effectively draining USA oil inventories at a higher pace than that oil is being replaced", he said.

"The seasonal surge at gas pumps is in full motion, causing the most dreaded time of year for fearful motorists, especially of what may still be coming", GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan said. Prices traditionally start their seasonal rise in mid-February as refiners begin maintenance that enables them to transition to producing more expensive summer-blend gasoline.

That means, "the reasons gas prices rise will shrink", DeHaan said.

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