Gas prices soared last week on signs of economic health. The annual transition to summer-blend gasoline also contributed to the largest one-week increase in average US gas prices since February 2011.
Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
The jump isn't entirely unexpected. Prices tend to rise during the switch from winter-blend gas to the more expensive summer-blend gas. Refineries temporarily slow production to sell off the winter blend gas and undergo maintenance during the transition. That raises wholesale prices, and, in turn, the prices at the pump.
Anticipating those rising costs, investors pour money into oil and gas futures, betting on higher price outcomes.
"It’s almost a certainty that whatever the price is on Groundhog Day, the price on St. Patrick's Day is going to be significantly higher," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.