After declining for almost three months, gasoline prices rose by an average of 7.1 cents on Long Island in the past week.
Experts cited more expensive crude oil and tight supplies on the East Coast of the less-polluting summer-grade gasoline required by clean air laws. Regular averaged $3.713 a gallon in Nassau and Suffolk counties Wednesday morning, the AAA said. That's still 24 cents below a year ago.
"I don't think it will get much higher, mostly because demand isn't there," said Sander Cohan of the consulting firm Energy Security Analysis Inc. in Wakefield, Mass.
U.S. drivers bought 2.9 percent less gasoline last week than they did a year earlier, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit.
The U.S. benchmark grade of crude oil, which has traded as low recently as $77.69 a barrel on June 28, has been rising on the expectation that governments of the United States, Europe and China will take further steps to spur their respective economies -- which, if successful, could increase demand for energy. Crude settled Wednesday up $1.23 at $85.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
East Coast pump prices also are being affected by the closure last year of four refineries that supply summer blend "reformulated” gasoline to the region -- two in the Caribbean and two in Pennsylvania.
Refineries in Europe and elsewhere in the United States are attempting to make up the shortage, but not all are equipped to produce the less-evaporative summer gasoline.
Gasoline prices locally had been falling, from a recent peak of $4.169 on Long Island on April 10 to a recent low of $3.63 a gallon for regular on July 2 and 3, the A