The price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline is continuing a steady upward climb in Jefferson County that is mirroring a nationwide trend.

The price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline is continuing a steady upward climb in Jefferson County that is mirroring a nationwide trend.

A Monday afternoon survey of area fuel prices showed a wide range of between $3.63 and $3.79 per gallon around Pine Bluff and White Hall.

In Pine Bluff, gas was on sale for $3.63 per gallon at the Shell at South Olive Street and 24th Avenue; $3.65 at the Exxon at South Olive Street and Interstate 530; $3.69 at the Citgo at Main Street and West Harding Avenue; and $3.75 at the Town & Country at Middle Warren and Old Warren roads.

In White Hall, gas was $3.63 at the Valero at U.S. 270 and Sandy Acres Road; $3.65 at the Valero at Sheridan Road and I-530; $3.69 at the Citgo at 13800 Dollarway Road; and $3.79 at the Shell at Sheridan Road and Robin roads.

Michael Right, vice president for public affairs with AAA Missouri, chalked up the increasing prices to ongoing unrest and instability in the Middle East, infrastructure issues and higher prices for crude oil and wholesale gasoline.

“There is concern over the Middle East and a new wrinkle has developed,” Right said. “An oil refinery in Aruba that supplies most of its product to the east coast of the United States has announced that it is shutting down. This will not immediately affect gas prices in middle America but it is affecting the east coast quite noticeably. This will result in gas being moved to the east coast which will then cause prices elsewhere to rise as the supply tightens.”

“We also had the price for crude oil rise to $108 per barrel today and the price for wholesale gasoline rose another one and a quarter cents per gallon,” Right said. “We are looking at noticeable increases in the price of wholesale gasoline over the past few months. There really is no good news.”

According to Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Gasbuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline in Arkansas is $3.64 while the national average is $3.81.

One week ago the Arkansas average was $3.59 per gallon according to Gasbuddy.com, while it was $3.41 per gallon one month ago and $3.42 per gallon one year ago.

Greg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with Gasbuddy.com, said that the Arkansas price is not nearly as high as other parts of the country.

“Arkansas has seen a pretty aggressive increase in the past month, up 25 cents a gallon,” Laskoski said. “The Arkansas average of $3.64 is still well below the national average of $3.81. As a point of contrast, in Wisconsin the average price per gallon today is $3.95 per gallon versus $3.36 a month ago. One of the reasons gas prices are relatively low in Arkansas compared to other parts of the country is greater access to lower cost crude oil.”

Laskoski said that one factor affecting gas prices is the amount of local, state and federal taxes that are included in the price of a gallon of gas.

“Arkansas at a 40.2 cents per gallon tax rate is not high by any stretch,” Laskoski said. “In both California and New York the tax rate is 67 cents a gallon and in Florida where I am it is 53.4 cents a gallon. Arkansas does have a slightly higher tax rate than in the states that surround it, including 35.4 cents per gallon in Oklahoma, 35.7 in Missouri, 37.2 in Mississippi, 38.4 in Louisiana and Texas and 39.8 cents per gallon in Tennessee.”