Drivers of the Recent Rise in U.S. Gasoline Prices
On July 2, the average price at the pump for regular gasoline in the United States was $3.36 per gallon, the lowest level since the first week of 2012. Since then, retail prices have increased more than 36 cents to reach $3.72 per gallon on August 13 (Figure 1).
The major driver behind this increase is the strength in the global crude oil market; the price of Brent crude oil, the crude price linked most closely to U.S. product prices over the past 18 months, has climbed more than $25 per barrel since late June. However, crude oil price increases are not the only factor behind the rise in gasoline prices. Outages at several U.S. refineries have caused tightness in gasoline markets and led to regional divergence in retail prices.