$5 gasoline is already here in some parts of the U.S.
Many observers are wondering whether the nation's gasoline prices will surpass $4 a gallon and rival 2008's all-time record. But in several parts of the U.S., $4 a gallon gasoline is already old news. How about $5 a gallon? Or $6?
Here is a list of all of the service stations in the U.S. that motorists will want to pass up if they are riding with anything more than fumes left in their fuel tanks, according to GasBuddy.com. The GasBuddy site uses price reporting members to log in the highest and the lowest prices they find in more than 240 metropolitan areas.
At least four stations are displaying prices well in excess of $5 a gallon for regular gasoline. That includes one place rental car drivers probably want to avoid if they are topping off their tanks before returning their vehicles to the nearby Orlando International Airport, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.
The Sun Coast Energies service station in Orlando is charging $5.69 for a gallon of regular gasoline.
The rest GasBuddy's worst prices per gallon list follows, with most of the pain coming from Hawaii and California:
$5.45 Crowley, in Bethel, Alaska
$5.19 Shell, in Bridgeport, Calif.
$5.16 Chevron, in Kaunakakai, Hawaii
$4.99 (10 Hawaii service stations under the Chevron, Minit Stop, and 76 brands are charging this much)
$4.98 Chevron, in Paia, Hawaii
$4.95 Chevron, in Lahaina, Hawaii
$4.85 Exxon, in Jamaica, N.Y.
$4.85 MK Gas, in New Cuyama, Calif.
$4.85 Mobil, in West Covina, Calif.
$4.81 Fleet Fueling, in Burbank, Calif.
$4.81 Tesoro, in Kihei, Hawaii
$4.81 Shell, in Kihei, Hawaii
$4.79 Mobil, in Lakewood, Calif.
$4.79 Chevron, in downtown Los Angeles
$4.76 Alpine, in Wrangell, Alaska
$4.75 Mobil, in Westport, Conn.
$4.75 Exxon, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
$4.73 Mobil, in Manhattan, N.Y.
$4.69 Exxon, in Summit, N.J.
DeHaan says that refiners should shoulder some of the blame for high gasoline prices, given that oil supplies are plentiful in the U.S., but gasoline stocks are being drawn down sharply as refineries hold back on their production.
The Energy Department's latest "This Week in Petroleum" report said that higher driver demand had reduced the nation's gasoline supplies by 18.1 million barrels so far this year to 205.6 million barrels. That included a draw down of 2.5 million barrels in just the past week.
"They clearly need to produce more gasoline. Gasoline inventories are down by a considerable amount, so we could see prices going a lot higher," DeHaan said.
A separate fuel price analysis done for the AAA Fuel Gauge Report by the Oil Price Information Service and Wright Express showed that retail gasoline prices were continuing to rise.
Two more states joined the list of those with average prices above $4 a gallon, bringing the total to eight, according to the AAA. They are Hawaii ($4.555), California ($4.222), Alaska ($4.179), Connecticut ($4.162), Illinois ($4.149), New York ($4.087), Michigan ($4.084), and Indiana ($4.062.)
One year ago, a gallon of regular gasoline in California cost just $3.111.
The national average reached $3.879 a gallon, up a penny overnight, according to the AAA. A year ago, the national average was just $2.858 a gallon.
The AAA fuel price statistics, with links to all 50 states and several metropolitan areas, can be found here.
GasBuddy's main website, with links to prices in more than 240 localities, can be found here.
-- Ronald D. White
Graphic: The California price chart was provided by the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.