Gasoline prices make biggest one week increase since Hurricane Katrina

Motorists in Texas are paying on average $3.30 for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline, a 22 cents hike in one week which represents the biggest one-week increase since September, 2005. Nationally prices also jumped 20 cents to $3.43 a gallon according to AAA Texas.Between Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, 2005, the days before and after Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans, prices in Texas increased 40 cents in one week. Nationally during that same period, the average price for gasoline increased 35 cents.Texas is now 13 cents below the national average, after having been 15 cents lower since the beginning of the year.Amarillo has the least expensive gasoline in the state at $3.26 a gallon; still the price of gasoline in that city jumped 24 cents. Motorists in El Paso are paying the most at $3.36, up 25 cents in a week.What’s driving the market?• Rapidly rising oil prices for all types of crude oil is pushing retail gasoline prices upward. In mid-February, oil traded as low as $87 a barrel; today it is trading at the $102 a barrel range.• The continued unrest in Libya and possibility of political instability in other Persian Gulf and North African nations has oil traders worried about future production.Motorists in all 50 states are now paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline. The most expensive gas is in Hawaii at $3.82. The lowest in the country is in Montana and Wyoming at $3.12In the summer of 2008 gasoline prices reached more than $4 a gallon. On this date in 2008, the national average for regular gasoline was $3.16. In Texas motorists paid $3.08. In New Mexico the price was $3.14As prices increase, AAA Texas recommends some relatively simple steps motorists can take to cut their fuel consumption.• Drive the speed limit. Studies show that by following this simple step you’re saving a significant amount of gasoline.  The U.S. Department of Energy says that for every five miles you drive over 60 miles per hour is equal to paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas.• Clean out the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2 percent.• If you have a GPS, use it. Plan the quickest and shortest distance to your destination. Avoiding hills and stops will increase your gas mileage.• Maintain your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level and keep your car well maintained.• Anticipate the stop lights and stop signs. Get to know your usual routes and look ahead, anticipating where you’ll have to stop. You can let up on the gas earlier. Coasting to a stop will save the gasoline you would otherwise use maintaining your speed longer.“Depending on the city they’re driving in, motorists are now paying at least $10 more per fill up than they were a year ago. As was the cases in 2008, this pocket book issue will likely mean drivers will make changes in the number of trips they take, consolidating them and being more careful about how they drive,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Corporate Communications Manager Dan Ronan in Irving.