A recent spike in gasoline prices may cause Toledoans to think twice before they leave their houses several times to accomplish daily tasks.
After two weeks of rapidly falling prices that brought some local filling stations' prices for regular, unleaded grade below $3 per gallon, area prices jumped twice during the first week of July, settling to an average price of $3.503 per gallon by Monday evening, according to the Web site gasbuddy.com.
Charlene Brevor of Toledo said the pricier gasoline is prompting her to attend to multiple errands on a single trip, rather than leaving her house several times a day and only accomplishing one task each time.
"I'm on Social Security, so this [price increase] is terrible for me," Ms. Brevor said as she filled her car's gas tank at a 7-Eleven store at Lewis and Eleanor avenues in West Toledo.
Average prices from Gasbuddy's volunteer spotters began a two-week decline on June 13, ending with prices as low as $3.059 on June 26.
After sharp rises on July 2 and 3, rates leveled off at about $3.35 per gallon on the Fourth of July before spiking again the following day to $3.50.
The weekend brought another increase to about $3.55 per gallon on Friday, followed by falling prices over the weekend that resulted in Monday's rate of $3.503.
RELATED CONTENT: Find the lowest gas prices in Toledo at toledoblade.com/gas.
Scott Dean, a spokesman for BP, said rising gasoline prices are usually attributed to the rising price of crude oil.
"As crude prices rise or fall, gas prices tend to rise or fall," he said. "Sometimes we see a delay, but over time you'll see the trend that they do follow each other."
Oil prices jumped 2 percent Monday after oil workers on strike in Norway failed to reach an agreement with their employers regarding pay and pensions on Sunday.
The unsolved dispute raised the possibility of Norway's first complete shutdown of its crude oil production in more than 25 years.
Statoil, Norway's biggest offshore operator, said it was preparing to start shutting down production after a strike deadline passed.
"Crude futures have climbed to new session highs on worries of a potential shutdown of Norwegian production," said Addison Armstrong, senior director, market research at Tradition Energy.
Brent August crude jumped $2.13 to settle at $100.32 a barrel, having reached $101.06 earlier in the day. U.S. August crude rose $1.54 to settle at $85.99 a barrel, after trading from $84 to $86.48.
Monday's price strength followed the drops on Friday in both Brent, down more than 2 percent, and U.S. crude, down more than 3 percent, after a disappointing U.S. June jobs report.
Other factors affecting gas prices include unrest in foreign places that are involved in gasoline production and competition between local gas station operators, Mr. Dean said.
Mike Evans, the executive vice president for business development at Detroit-based Atlas Oil, said recent Iranian war games in the critical Strait of Hormuz shipping lanes had contributed to oil-market jitters, while heat-related refinery problems have reduced inventories of refined products.
Wholesale prices were up another three to four cents per gallon Monday, said Mr. Evans, whose company operates more than a dozen filling stations in the Toledo area, along with being a wholesale dealer.
"I would expect to see another [retail price] pop unless this starts heading down," he said.
Although she was hoping prices would continue to fall as they had in late June, Ms. Brevor said she had been expecting them to increase eventually this summer.
"When people start traveling, they start increasing prices," she said.
At the same 7-Eleven, Matt Zdybek filled up his motorcycle with $3.399-per-gallon gas at a pump across from Ms. Brevor.
Mr. Zdybek said he had been out of town recently and was shocked to discover the price had increased so drastically while he was gone.
"It's a bit upsetting," the Toledo native said. "It's a lot to go up in a week."
Despite his disappointment, Mr. Zdybek said the increase won't alter his plans to drive to Kentucky later this summer for a bachelor party.
"I'm just hoping it doesn't increase any more," he said.
The average gasoline price across the nation has increased as well, according to Gasbuddy, albeit a more subdued jump from $3.38 per gallon on July 1 to $3.414 on Monday evening. Prior to the beginning of the month, the national average had decreased slowly during late June from an average of $3.56 per gallon on June 11.
Toledo native Robert Lang said he was more surprised with gas prices decreasing in the past few weeks than with the recent increase.
Mr. Lang paid $3.479 per gallon to fill the tank of his minivan at a Sunoco station on the corner of Lewis and Hawk in Toledo.
Even though he owns two motorcycles that are both "cheaper and more fun" to ride than his minivan, Mr. Lang said the gas price increases will not cause him to stop driving the minivan.
"No matter how high [the price] goes, you're still going to have to pay for it," he said.
Staff writer David Patch and The Blade's news services contributed to this report.
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