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Las Vegas gas prices again spiking; average tops $5/gallon

After weeks of decline, gasoline prices in Las Vegas have spiked 24 cents in the last week and have topped $5 a gallon again.

The average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas Monday in Las Vegas was $5.09, according to AAA data. That’s up sharply from the $4.85 average seen in the Las Vegas Valley on Sept. 19.

Issues seen at oil refineries are mainly to blame for the recent gas price surge.

“Gas prices across the West and much of the Midwest have been on the rise due predominantly to oil refinery maintenance both planned and unplanned,” said John Treanor, AAA spokesman. “It has all affected oil supply.”

The national average for a gallon of gas is up 5 cents in the last week, sitting at $3.72 Monday.

The recent behavior in the gas market across the U.S. is one Patrick De Haan, lead petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, hasn’t seen previously.

“One of the longest gas price declines on record has finally come to an end after 14 weeks, with gas prices shooting up in several regions amidst myriad refinery issues from the West Coast to the Great Lakes and in between,” De Haan said Monday in a blog post.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a wider gamut of price behaviors coast to coast in my career,” he added. “A slew of unexpected refinery disruptions, including fires and routine maintenance, have seemingly all happened in a short span of time, causing wholesale gas prices to spike in areas of the West Coast, Great Lakes and Plains states.”

The recent price spike could be just the beginning for areas on the West Coast like Las Vegas, as De Haan is forecasting future increases.

“Those areas could see prices spike another 25-75 cents per gallon or more until issues are worked out,” De Haan said.

Statewide the average price for a gallon of gas hit $5.10 Monday, up 19 cents in the last week. The average price in Nevada is up $1.19 compared to the same date last year.

After a string of days with prices at $5.61 per gallon, the record high, gas prices in Las Vegas saw a steady decline between June 17 and Aug. 15, according to AAA data tracked by the Review-Journal. The price then fell again daily between Aug. 16 and Sept. 12, when prices began to creep back up.

The recent increases come even as oil prices have fallen to levels not seen since the beginning of the year, Treanor said.

“Important to mention that oil prices are now down below $80 a barrel for the first time since January,” Treanor said.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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