Gas prices continue to rise on summer gas, refinery maintenance, trade deal rumors [The Valley News-Dispatch, Tarentum, Pa.]

March 04– Mar. 4–Gas prices are continuing to rise in Pittsburgh and across much of the country, with every area now starting the first step in the transition to summer gasoline at the same time refiners are continuing maintenance, an industry analyst said.

Rumors of a trade deal between the U.S. and China may also push oil prices higher, “as it would likely lead to increasing economic growth rates in both countries and pushing demand for oil higher,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

“Since gas prices bottomed out nearly two months ago, average gas prices are up 20 cents,” he said. “We may see another 20 cent hike or so over the next two months, or perhaps greater if there are any refinery kinks that arise.

“We’ll still be in good shape for summer gas prices to be under their year ago levels, so all is not lost.”

In Pittsburgh, gas prices have risen 1.8 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $2.66, according to GasBuddy’s survey of 731 stations. That’s 16.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago, but 15.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Pittsburgh is priced at $2.41 per gallon; the most expensive is $2.79, a difference of 38 cents per gallon. Across the state, per gallon prices range from $2.42 to $2.89.

Nationally, the average is up 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week to an average of $2.43. It’s up 15.6 cents per gallon from a month ago, but is 9.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

National gas prices range from a low of $1.86 to as high as $4.99 per gallon.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, brittmeyer@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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