Gasoline price holds at average $3.92 per gallon

Published April 3, 2012 5:09PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) — The surge in gasoline prices appears to have stalled around $3.92 per gallon. But experts caution that more increases lie ahead.

Many refineries have yet to undergo a seasonal maintenance period that will force them to produce less gas. That will tighten supplies in parts of the country, especially in the Great Lakes region, pushing prices higher.

"In about two weeks we're going to see more refineries go into maintenance, and prices are going to creep up," said Patrick DeHaan, a retail price expert with DeHaan expects the national average to rise to between $3.95 and $4.35 per gallon by the end of April.

Gas prices have been steady in the past week, with the national average adding just over a penny per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. At one point during the winter, the average rose on 39 out of 40 days. It's up 65 cents since Jan. 1.

The current stability will only be temporary, DeHaan said.

The maintenance period takes place every spring as refineries retool their plants to make gasoline blends that are required to meet clean air regulations in the summer. A handful of refineries feeding service stations in the Great Lakes region have said they're going through the switch now, DeHaan said.

Meanwhile, oil prices are falling after a two-day rise. Benchmark U.S. crude gave up 82 cents to $104.41 per barrel in New York while Brent crude was down 30 cents $125.13 per barrel in London.

In other energy trading, heating oil fell by 1.18 cents to $3.2378 per gallon and gasoline futures added 1.67 cents to $3.3989 per gallon. Natural gas increased by 2.9 cents to $2.181 per 1,000 cubic feet.


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By Salon Staff

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