Orlando gasoline prices jump to $2.41 a gallon, likely going higher [Orlando Sentinel]

Feb. 26– Feb. 26–Gas prices in the Orlando metro area have climbed sharply in the past few days, and motorists can now expect to pay more than $2.40 a gallon at many stations.

AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauges shows gas prices rose 23 cents in less than two weeks, a dramatic jump even for a time of year when rising prices are typical.

That reached a peak Tuesday morning when prices went up about 8 cents a gallon overnight to reach $2.41 for a gallon of regular unleaded. That’s a penny higher than the national average.

It’s just the beginning of rising costs for motorists that will peak around Memorial Day, said GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.

“Prices should peak in April or maybe may,” DeHaan said. “This is usually the time of year when prices are going up.”

DeHaan expects a gallon of regular unleaded in the Orlando area to reach somewhere between $2.55 and $2.85 a gallon at the peak around Memorial Day.

“There are plenty more increases coming down the pipeline,” he said.

Gas gets more expensive in early spring because refineries are doing maintenance to switch over to EPA-mandated summer blends of fuel, which are better for air quality.

Oil prices are up slightly in the past week, but during the spring refinery capacity has a greater bearing on what happens at the pump, DeHaan said.

“They have to get rid of all their winter gasoline and run themselves dry ahead of the May 1 deadline,” he said. “So if you have any outages at refineries it tends to send prices higher.”

Refineries in some regions are running at as low as 64 percent capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration.

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