WASHINGTON — Motorists are filling-up to some of the most expensive gas prices seen in over a year.

AAA says that with the forced shutdown of Gulf Coast and some Mid-West refineries due to last week’s winter weather, gasoline stocks have tightened and prices have skyrocketed.

On the week, 66 percent of state averages spiked by double digits (10 to 22 cents), driving the national average up by 13 cents to $2.63. That is the most expensive national average since October 2019.

“When close to 40 percent of U.S. crude production is offline because refineries are closed, there is going to be pain at the pump until operations resume,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokeswoman.

“The good news is the nearly two dozen impacted refiners are expected to restart operations this week, if they haven’t already. That means regular gasoline deliveries will resume and impacted stations will be re-fueled,” he said.

Last week, refinery outages were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kansas.

Gas prices are likely to be volatile until crude production is back to normal levels. Motorists can expect these more expensive prices to stick around, but large spikes are likely to subside.

The nation’s 10 largest weekly increases were: Ohio (+22 cents), Arizona (+21 cents), Iowa (+19 cents), Minnesota (+18 cents), Georgia (+18 cents), Michigan (+17 cents), Wisconsin (+16 cents), Nebraska (+16 cents), Indiana (+16 cents) and Maryland (+15 cents).

The nation’s 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($2.27), Louisiana ($2.31), Texas ($2.32), Arkansas ($2.35), Alabama ($2.35), Oklahoma ($2.36), Utah ($2.38), Missouri ($2.38), Tennessee ($2.40) and South Carolina ($2.42).

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, West Texas Intermediate decreased by $1.28 to settle at $59.24.

Crude prices took a step back last week amid market concern that crude demand may not rebound as expected, but prices did push higher earlier in the week due to supply and delivery impacts from the winter storm.

Crude prices were also bolstered by EIA’s latest weekly report revealing that total domestic crude inventories dropped by 7.3 million bbl, bringing the supply level to 461.8 million bbl.

For this week, crude prices will likely rise if EIA’s next weekly report shows another decrease in total stocks, but price gains could be limited again if demand concerns persist.

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