With vacation season in full swing, Chicago-area drivers are facing gas prices averaging $4.11 a gallon, about 18 cents higher than a month ago.
Local prices are on a steeper climb than U.S. prices, which have risen just half a cent to $3.65 in the last month. Still, it's a lot better than last year, when construction at the BP refinery in Whiting, Inc. put gasoline above $4.30 a gallon, according to AAA Chicago.
"Things are more stable now," said Beth Mosher, public affairs director at AAA Chicago.
Despite the hefty prices, there's more demand for gas than there was a year ago, perhaps because of the recovering economy, said Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com.
Gas prices usually decline in June because refineries have completed maintenance they take on earlier in the year, DeHaan said. Also, they have finished their switch to "summer gasoline," a cleaner gas that the EPA mandates be used between June 1 and Sept. 15. Prices are harder to predict during hurricane season in July and August, he said.
"I would say that Chicago prices on average will hold in the low $4 a gallon," he added.
The recent turmoil in Iraq has caused a rise in gas prices, but the shock to the market is wearing off, he said. He added some of the increase may be due to the fact that oil pipelines from the Gulf Coast are, more than usual, being used to carry liquids to dilute crude oil in Canada, rather than oil for gasoline firstname.lastname@example.org