Gas prices spiked at record pace in early 2013

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – The price of gas shot up at a record pace during the first two months of the year, but drivers haven’t heard clear reasons why or when the spike may end.

At one point, the cost of regular unleaded increased for 36 consecutive days, which is the longest streak in nearly two years.

As of Sunday, AAA Mid-Atlantic listed the average price in the District at $3.99. Across the region, drivers fill up for an average of $3.81 per gallon.

Since Jan. 1, the national average has increased 49 cents per gallon.

“Any analyst that you talk to will say that this is out of kilter,” says Lon Anderson, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “These prices are not justified by what we’re seeing.”

To his point, a barrel of crude oil closed at $90.68 on Friday. One year ago, it went for $108.84 per barrel.

“We have plenty of supply right now, demand is down and the industry is making all sorts of excuses,” Anderson says.

He says common triggers such as refinery complications or international unrest do not explain the spike this year.

“Given that there is nothing else you can blame it on, you kind of have to look and say, ‘Is this the product of greed at work?'” says Anderson.

Current and past gas prices from AAA

Current Week Ago Year Ago
D.C. Metro $3.81 $3.84 $3.75
D.C. Only $3.99 $4.01 $3.87
National $3.75 $3.78 $3.76

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