The average price for a gallon of self-serve regular in Houston is $3.56. That's exactly where it was a week ago, according to AAA. The association's Sarah Schimmer says prices haven't been this stable since late fall. They've been rising an average of 7 to 8 cents per week from November until just recently. Ongoing tensions with Iran have played a big part in that increase. Schimmer says some of the other factors that usually drive up gasoline prices this time of year have already worked their way through the system.
"We've already seen the spring/summer blend enter the market. That accounts for some of the increases we've seen leading up to this week. We've also seen, definitely, the springtime maintenance that most of our refineries go through. That's already been impacting the market."
Even though prices haven't budged this week, the Houston average is still up 16 cents per gallon from a year ago. But Schimmer says the difference won't amount to too much for spring break road trippers.
"This year, a typical 14 gallon fill-up, that's about the size of an average family-sized vehicle, it's $50. Last year, in 2011, the spring break fill-up for that same 14-gallon tank was about $48. So we're only paying about $2 more for you total fill up than we did last year."
Schimmer says it's possible we'll see some price hikes next week, as spring break gets underway, and retailers capitalize on the extra demand.