This week's petroleum futures market rally has pumped prices back to mid-May levels. It's impacting all fuel fractions, particularly in the Midwest where barge shipping is complicated by low river levels, according to the Oil Price Information Service.
Add to that the market nervousness over Middle East geopolitical concerns plus technical strengths. Tensions between Israel and Iran are heating up, as are those inside Syria.
Also at work is the typical season rally with gasoline use rising due to increased consumer traveling. The peak fuel-buying window of opportunity recommended Monday on this site may have passed. See "8 Reasons To fear Rising Fuel Prices" at Rising-diesel-fuel-prices. That story was posted before news leaked out about barge shipping troubles on the Mississippi River.
Drought's growing river impact
OPIS reported yesterday that Valero is considering using more barges to deliver and receive oil at its Memphis, Tenn., refinery due to reduced water levels and tighter vessel draft restrictions on the Mississippi River. So far, the barging restriction does not have an impact on the refinery and its supply to customers, a company spokesman insists. "Operations at Memphis are not affected. The Corps of Engineers has been out to do some dredging in the harbor, but that's an annual event."