Gasoline Prices Rising as Summer Blend Comes to Market

Bruce Bullock of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute talks about the seasonal rise in gasoline prices.

Bruce Bullock

By Ellen Chang

Gasoline prices are on the upswing in southern California, retreating from their downward trend. This is the first region in the U.S. to transition to the costlier summer blend gasoline, marking an end to the ultra cheap gas and resulting extra savings consumers have enjoyed of late.

Refiners are gradually switching to a more expensive summer blend and drivers in Los Angeles have seen prices reverse the course, rising as much as $0.10 a gallon in one day, said Will Speer, a senior petroleum analyst at, a Boston-based provider of retail fuel pricing information and data. . . 

The seasonal increases in the price of gasoline are usually $0.12 to $0.15 per gallon and occur from the first quarter to the second quarter of the year, said Bruce Bullock, director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business in Dallas.

"Usually the price of crude bottoms in the April to early May time frame seasonally," he said. "This year the price of crude may have peaked earlier in the year. I would anticipate a similar change in gasoline prices this year." . . . 

Determining the timing of when crude prices will rise still remains difficult because there are "so many moving factors right now," said Bullock.

"I believe it's difficult and somewhat foolish to predict," he said. "There are reputable forecasters calling for $60 by the end of the year and equally reputable analysts indicating no higher than $40. I don't believe we can accurately time the beginning of the uptick, but once it starts, I believe the market will be characterized by significant volatility on the way up."

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