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Summer blend to boost gasoline prices over next month

| Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 6:12 p.m.

Prices at the gas pump are headed for a jump next month when stations switch from cheaper winter gasoline to a cleaner-burning, more expensive, summertime blend.

Analysts said Wednesday that gasoline prices in Western Pennsylvania are expected to increase at least 10 cents per gallon by the end of April and early May as wholesale refineries start selling fuel with a lower evaporation level. Such gas is required by the Environmental Protection Agency for areas with heavy air pollutions to inhibit ozone creation over the summer months.

Gas stations are required to have the more expensive blend on tap for drivers by June 1 and are just getting the first shipments now, said Nancy Maricondi, executive director of the Petroleum Retailers and Auto Repair Association in Braddock Hills. They'll pass the costs on to consumers in the coming weeks, she said.

“This happens every year,” she said. “I don't think we should be seeing an increase yet, but it will probably be coming.”

Gasoline prices will likely rise between 10 and 20 cents throughout the Northeast and East Coast, according to GasBuddy.com, an online analyst. Prices at Pittsburgh-area pumps fell 1.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.56 per gallon, according to site's daily survey of 731 gas outlets in Pittsburgh.

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