Gasoline prices rose sharply for the second consecutive week, increasing 8.3 cents to 305.4 cents per gallon for the week of May 7, 2007. Prices are 14.5 cents per gallon higher than at this time last year. All regions reported price increases. East Coast prices were up 4.1 cents to 295.8 cents per gallon. The largest increase was in the Midwest, where prices jumped 14.9 cents to 307.4 cents per gallon. Prices for the Gulf Coast rose 1.7 cents to 287.0 cents per gallon, while Rocky Mountain prices increased 13.3 cents to 309.0 cents per gallon. West Coast prices were up 9.6 cents to 337.3 cents per gallon. The average price for regular grade in California was up 10.2 cents to reach a record price of 346.1 cents per gallon, 12.9 cents per gallon above last year's price.
At least inventory levels have stabilized.
This number could become the economic story as we move into summer. This is a price consumers see on a regular basis -- at least once a week and probably more. As it increases consumers may be more prone to cut-back on other purchases to pay for gasoline/transportation.
In addition, we're already at/near rice records at the beginning of the summer. Stockpiles are low and refiners are slow to come on line with gasoline production for a variety of reasons. If production ramps up quickly than the situation may be averted. But I have noticed that gas prices rise quickly, but have a difficult time falling.