Sunday, May 19 2013 5:58 PM EDT2013-05-19 21:58:26 GMT
Source: Louisiana State Police
Authorities are urging motorists to avoid I-10 West and East bound at mile marker 25 due to a tanker truck on fire. Fire crews are still working to extinguish flames on an 18-wheel oil tanker. LouisianaMore >>
Louisiana State Police is investigating an oil tanker tractor fire on Interstate 10 that caused major traffic delays Sunday afternoon. More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:05 PM EDT2013-05-18 01:05:04 GMT
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local governmentMore >>
The Southwest Louisiana Tea Party movement began picking up steam in 2009 as members from throughout the five-parish area began gathering for rallies and becoming more visible and involved in local government and the political scene.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 8:55 PM EDT2013-05-18 00:55:58 GMT
An arrest has been made in the 1962 death of Mary Horton Vail. Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962, her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident. TheMore >>
Mary Horton Vail was found dead in the Calcasieu River in October 1962. Her husband, Felix Vail, claimed she was the victim of a boating accident.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 6:17 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:17:04 GMT
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case. On May 17, 2005, 28-year-old Loretta Chaisson Lewis went missing. Three days later, her body was found floatingMore >>
Friday marks the anniversary of the first woman reported missing in the Jeff Davis Eight case.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 5:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:47:38 GMT
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18,More >>
More than 825 students - the largest graduating class in McNeese State University history - are expected to receive degrees at the university's spring commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.More >>
Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports, Stocks, Movies on your Cell PhoneMore >>
Get local news, weather, sports, and video on your mobile device.More >>
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -
It's happening again.
It's not even close to the summer driving season -- in fact, it's not even springtime -- but as surely as February gives way to March, gas prices have begun their annual assent.
The average price for a gallon of regular is now $3.53 a gallon, according to AAA. That's 17 cents higher than it was just a week ago, and 23 cents higher than last month.
In parts of Los Angeles, drivers are already paying more than $5 a gallon.
"I'm shocked. I don't know what happened," Diana Griffitts, a motorist filling up at a downtown LA station, told CNN. "Just a week ago I paid under $4 a gallon. I'd like an explanation."
Well Diana, we'll try.
Analysts say gas prices are going up for two basic reasons: oil prices are rising, and refineries are shutting down.
Oil prices have jumped 10% over the last two months. The price of crude accounts for 68% of the cost of a gallon of gas, according to the Energy Information Administration. Other costs include refining (8%), marketing and distribution (11%), and taxes (13%).
Energy analysts say oil prices are rising partly because the economy is improving. The U.S. housing market had its best year in the last five, U.S. job growth is steady, and the Chinese economy is showing an uptick.
OPEC production cuts are also causing oil prices to rise. The cartel is believed to have cut production by about 1 million barrels a day over the last few months, partly as a response to rising oil production elsewhere, notably the United Sates.
On the refining front, several refineries have either shut down or are about to for maintenance before the switch to summer gasoline, which often has to be formulated to prevent smog buildup in the warmer weather. That comes on top of the closure of a Hess refinery in New Jersey last month, which was reportedly losing money.
"There's no shortage," said Andrew Lebow, an energy broker at Jefferies Bache in New York. "But there's anticipation that as refineries go down, stockpiles will draw."
Investors are moving their cash into energy futures, attracted by the improving economy and potentially lower gasoline supplies.
In early December, 11.7% of the most commonly traded U.S. oil futures contracts were held by investment funds betting the price would go higher, according to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. As of last week, that number jumped to 15%.
That money-movement ritual happens every spring, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. Each year, though, it seems to be happening earlier and earlier, he said.
Fortunately for motorists, prices this year are not expected to be as high as last year.
Thanks to an oil and gas production boom in this country, peak gasoline prices are expected to top out somewhere between $3.50 a gallon and $3.90 a gallon this year, Kloza said. Last year's top price was $3.94 a gallon, set in early April.
Average prices for the whole year are expected to be lower, too. Kloza is predicting an average of $3.25 to $3.50 a gallon. That's nice break from last year's average of $3.60 -- which caused U.S. motorists to spend a record $479 billion at the pump.