Gasoline Futures Jump to Three-Week High as Brent Strengthens

Gasoline futures jumped to the highest level since April 9 as Brent crude advanced a third day. Crack spreads widened.

Prices climbed 1.4 percent as Brent gained $1.27 to $105.46 a barrel on concern that airstrikes in Syria might lead to wider conflict in the Middle East. A rally in Brent boosts costs for refiners using oil priced off the London benchmark. The fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate rose $1.14 to $24.20 a barrel, while the spread to Brent widened 42 cents to $14.90.

“Gasoline is leading the way back as there’s an increase in Brent because of concerns about Syria,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Gasoline for June delivery rose 4.03 cents to settle at $2.8657 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have climbed 5.4 percent in three days. Trading volume was 15 percent below the 100-day average at 3:20 p.m.

Syria threatened retaliation against Israel after an aerial strike on the outskirts of Damascus caused explosions that rocked the capital, increasing the risk of a wider regional conflict.

“There’s a tick-up in geopolitical concerns and today we’re following Brent,” said Andrew Lebow, a senior vice president at Jefferies Bache LLC in New York.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for June delivery rose 3.58 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.9202 a gallon Trading volume was 32 percent below the 100-day average.

Gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.1 cent to $3.521 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. Prices have fallen 26.5 cents from the year-to-date high of $3.786 on Feb. 26 and are 26.2 cents below a year ago.

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