Gail Weinholzer, at AAA-Iowa, says gasoline prices are higher than usual. “We’ve had a strong demand throughout the winter,” Weinholzer says. “We’re exporting a lot of crude oil. Crude oil is trading up above $65 a barrel and all of that formed a confluence of reasons why prices have stayed high through the winter and are a bit higher than they were last year at this time.” The average price for gas in Iowa is $2.58 a gallon. That’s up 20-cents from a year ago.
Last weekend’s U.S.-led strike on Syria likely isn’t to blame, at least not much. “Syria is not an oil exporter, not directly,” she says. “There’s some nervousness within the market about any continuing hostility and that’s keeping crude oil prices high. Crude oil prices have been high throughout the winter so it’s not having that significant of an impact.” While the weather is still wintry, we’re almost a month into spring, which usually means an upturn in gas prices.
“We’re most of the way through the switch-over from the winter to the summer grade of fuel, even though we’re not actually experiencing summer at this point,” Weinholzer says. “The summer grade fuel burns cleaner and costs more to refine so we always see prices rise in the spring, although I wouldn’t expect them to rise any more than a nickel or a dime between now and Memorial Day.”
The daily AAA survey shows Iowa’s most expensive gas is in Dubuque, averaging $2.65 a gallon, while the cheapest gas is in Council Bluffs at $2.49.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)