Arkansas gas prices have risen nearly a nickel per gallon in the past week, and nearly a quarter in the past month.
The state average is now $2.30 a gallon, and the national average is $2.54.
"March madness is already in full swing at pumps across the country as the U.S. has seen the national average rise for five straight weeks and there's no sign of a slowdown yet," Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a news release.
DeHaan noted that several refinery issues flared up over the weekend, including fires at two facilities that could push wholesale gasoline prices up “notably.” These shutdowns were in the Pacific Northwest and the Gulf Coast.
Dozens of refineries across the country perform maintenance in a tight window ahead of the summer driving season. Any major outages can lead to tight inventory ahead of specification changes and have a severe impact on gas prices.
“The situation is delicate and bears further monitoring in the days ahead,” he added.
According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Arkansas is priced at $1.99 on Monday while the most expensive was $2.79. The national average is up 20.6 cents per gallon from a month ago, but is .03 cents lower than a year ago.
Oil prices took a hit last week as the market continued to have concerns about the global economy slowing this year, AAA noted. This could weaken global crude demand later this year. Moving into this week, prices will likely remain volatile following news from OPEC that it will not hold a meeting this April regarding its crude reduction pact with other global crude producers. Instead, OPEC will meet on June 25-26 to allow the cartel more time to determine if it should work with its partners to extend the crude production reduction agreement beyond June.
Prices were also volatile last week after new data from Energy Information Administration revealed that total domestic crude inventories declined last week by 3.8 million billion barrels to 449.1 million barrels. It’s roughly 20 million barrels higher than last year’s level at this time.