There’s another reason gas prices are about to rise

(NEXSTAR) – You might imagine inflation and the struggle in Ukraine are what’s driving up fuel costs this spring – and sure, they’re – however they aren’t the one forces at play. One environmental regulation can also be inflicting fuel costs to rise, and it occurs yearly because the seasons change.

The Environmental Protection Agency requires a special mix of gasoline be offered in the summertime months than within the winter months. The summer time mix has decrease volatility, which suggests it’s much less prone to evaporate whereas sitting in your automobile’s fuel tank within the warmth — and due to this fact much less prone to emit dangerous fumes into the ambiance. Winter fuel has increased volatility, making it simpler to ignite and begin your automobile in frigid temperatures.

Why does which have something to do with fuel costs? Summer mix fuel is dearer to supply, explains Patrick De Haan, lead petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.

The deadline to modify to promoting summer time gasoline is June 1 for fuel stations, however refineries begin producing the pricier mix in March, in order that’s while you’ll discover costs creeping up.

“It’s like one day refineries go from producing summer to winter. It’s a long time transition because of the nature of pipelines that ship gasoline to the market, the storage tanks where that gasoline sits, and all of it has to happen by June 1,” mentioned De Haan.

At the identical time, refineries are usually doing upkeep work in the course of the spring to ensure they’re prepared for prime season in the course of the summer time. Refineries might need to shut down elements of their operation to do the upkeep work, constraining their output and additional pushing up costs.

“There’s a lot of logistical challenges that go into this that eventually drive prices up because this transition is so nuanced,” De Haan mentioned.

“We also start to see gasoline demand go up with spring break travel, warm weather, Americans getting outside after winter. So the switch over to summer gas, a higher rise in demand and refinery maintenance is generally what pinches prices. It’s usually fairly noticeable – somewhere between 25 to 75 cents [higher].”

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Unlike the opposite issues inflicting fuel costs to skyrocket, like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and record-high inflation, there’s a agency finish date with this: Sept. 15. That’s the final day the EPA requires fuel stations to promote 100% summer time mix gasoline. After that date, the cheaper winter mix fuel can begin to be reintroduced.

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