Gas prices continue ascent

PRICES at the pump in Rhode Island increased for the seventh consecutive week on Monday, according to AAA Southern New England.
Posted 2/13/12

PROVIDENCE – Prices at the pump in Rhode Island increased for the seventh consecutive week on Monday, according to AAA Southern New England.

The auto club’s Feb. 13 survey found the average prices of self-serve, unleaded regular gasoline was $3.65 per gallon, a 6 cent increase from a week ago and up 16 cents over the last month. Prices ranged from $3.55 to $3.80.

The national average was $3.52 on Monday and in Massachusetts, it stood at $3.57, increasing for the eighth consecutive week.

According to Bloomberg News, oil climbed after the Greek parliament approved an austerity plan, bolstering chances for a solution to Europe’s debt crisis, and on increasing concern that Iranian crude supplies will be disrupted.

Futures rose as much as 2 percent, the euro strengthened and the global equity market advanced after passage of the package needed for 130 billion euro ($172 billion) in aid. Companies controlling more than 100 supertankers said they would stop loading cargoes from Iran, tightening sanctions on OPEC’s second-biggest producer.

“The approval of the Greek austerity measures gave the euro a boost and sent equities higher,” said Chris Dillman, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Conn. “The news that shippers will stop loading Iranian cargoes is also driving the market higher.”

Crude for March delivery increased $1.42, or 1.4 percent, to $100.09 a barrel at 11:40 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures are up 17 percent from a year ago.

Brent oil for March settlement rose 99 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $118.30 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

European Union finance ministers are scheduled to meet Feb. 15 in Brussels to decide whether to approve the aid package. Resolution of the negotiations would help contain the threat that speculators will target debt-saddled countries, including Italy and Portugal, Bloomberg said.

At service stations in Rhode Island this week, the survey found average self-serve prices of $3.78 per gallon for midgrade unleaded, $3.91 for premium unleaded gasoline and $4.04 for diesel.

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