By Shariq Khan and Laura Sanicola

(Reuters) – Gasoline prices for U.S. motorists could jump by as much as 15 cents a gallon, with global fuel supplies tighter after Ukraine’s recent attacks on Russian refineries, Patrick De Haan, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com said on Monday.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Rising gasoline prices could hinder the U.S. government’s fight against inflation. Higher pump prices already contributed to a solid jump in consumer and producer prices in February.

CONTEXT

Motor fuel prices tend to rise seasonally this time of year as vacationers take to the roads and the U.S. switches to more-expensive summer grade gasoline. This year, Russian refinery outages could boost U.S. pump prices by an additional 5 to 15 cents a gallon from GasBuddy’s previous April forecast of between $3.36 and 3.67 per gallon, De Haan said.

Any additional supply shocks, like unplanned outages at major U.S. refineries, could push domestic gasoline prices above $4 a gallon for the first time since 2022, De Haan said.

BY THE NUMBERS

According to Reuters calculations, around 14% of Russia’s refining capacity has been shut down by drone attacks, and the country has banned gasoline exports for six months while increasing imports from neighboring Belarus in March to address possible fuel shortages.

Russian exports of clean products like gasoline and diesel are due to drop 30% to 1.2 million barrels per day in April, according to an analysis of Kpler shipping data.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A gas pump is inserted inside an Audi vehicle at a Mobil gas station in Beverly Boulevard in West Hollywood, California, U.S., March 10, 2022. Picture taken March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

The total U.S. gasoline stockpile stood at 232.1 million barrels as of March 22, 1% lower than the past five year’s average at this time of the year.

Gasoline prices averaged $3.536 a gallon at pumps across the U.S. on Monday, up 6% from a month ago and 1% above the same time last year, data from motorist group AAA showed.





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