When will gas prices stop rising?

Some analysts are puzzled by the increase, and one says the national average could easily top $4 a gallon this spring.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 19, 2013 11:21AM

Image: Gas prices (Photodisc/SuperStock)The start of 2013 has been tough for consumers. Many saw a chunk missing from their take-home pay when payroll taxes increased. Now they're getting hit at the gas pump, with fuel prices climbing by nearly 14% since Jan. 1 to an average $3.75 a gallon. 

What's behind the jump? Refinery shutdowns are leading "to tighter supply, which also has driven up prices," a spokeswoman for AAA told The Wall Street Journal.

Hess (HES) is shutting down its Port Reading, N.J., refinery, while other refineries have reduced supply because of planned repairs. Refineries often use winter for maintenance, given historically lower demand for gasoline as drivers cut back in poor weather, the Journal notes.

But some analysts are puzzled by the rise, given that gas prices typically see a jump in March and April, when drivers start using their cars more frequently, Business Insider reports.

There's one trend analysts are agreeing on: Prices aren't likely to reverse direction anytime soon. 

"Traditionally, gas prices rise anywhere from 40 to 60 cents a gallon in late March through early May," GasBuddy.com oil analyst Patrick DeHaan told the New York Post. He says if that happens this year, "it will easily send the national average over $4 a gallon."

That's already a reality in some areas. Residents in Southern California are paying the highest prices in the country, with Santa Barbara drivers paying an average of $4.32 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com. The cheapest gas is found in Billings, Mt. -- a hub for state's oil boom -- where a gallon sells for an average of $3.17. 

Some consumers are paying even more: A few locations have reported gas prices of more than $5 per gallon. One station in Los Angeles on Monday was selling regular unleaded for $5.19 a gallon.

At that price, a car with a 17-gallon tank would require more than $88 to fill up. With big bucks flowing into gas tanks, it's possible that consumers will look to cut back in other areas -- and that could create a challenge for the stock market and the U.S. economic recovery.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 19, 2013 12:15PM
Feb 19, 2013 11:33AM
Fantastic!  And just in time for our 5th annual "summer of recovery". 
Feb 19, 2013 12:21PM
Speculators and price fixing. Oil demand down production up.Have a better answer?


This President wants higher gas prices to force people to use alternative fuels that we have yet to invent while using vehicles that are not efficient and cost more than the average person can afford.   He is forcing the issue.   Just as he is forcing the tax issue.  Your take home pay is smaller even though you may make less than $200,000.    


He has given this alternative fuel plan to the American people numerous times in the recent past and no one bothers to find fault with it. 


The pipeline you refer to is NOT in his future view of the world.   The Canadians will be shipping all their reserve raw materials overseas along with the USA.   KMP has a large pipeline from Alberta to the west coast of Canada and will be building another similar sized line adjacent to the first.   The oil, gas and coal of the Americas will be going to the Chinese and other nations, but we will be unable to use them as is the case with the Eastern States Coal.   It seems that this selling of our resources to other countries is counter productive to Global warming, but the whole ideas is to prevent America from using it.   Global Warming is only a sham for us to lose focus on what is really happening.


We do not need it as the President doesn't have much love for the American way of life and we will soon find ourselves in the biggest Recession - Depression we have ever seen.   Get ready for it.   The Chickens have come home to roost and God seems to have damned America.

Feb 19, 2013 1:01PM
Shovel ready jobs? Let's build a couple refineries.
Feb 19, 2013 12:51PM

GREED GREED GREED.  summer is comming. 

Feb 19, 2013 12:44PM

All of you "Obama-Voters" need to give Obama some High-Fives!


Also, in California?  Give your Governor "Moon-Beam" some High-Fives too!


Watch your "Wind-Mills" churn out liberal energy!!


We will be having a recession soon anyway, so gas prices will not even be a factor for the recession, but will come down due to the recession as jobs will become scarce and driving will become unnecessary.  

Feb 19, 2013 12:38PM
Gas prices will go up as long as there are greedy people collecting dividends off the backs of the rest of us .
Feb 19, 2013 1:11PM
And the media keeps you focused on the important issues like lip synching and carnival cruise lines , oscars , emmy's , etc. etc. Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain !!!
Feb 19, 2013 12:58PM
Why is there no one to say enough is enough. How come there is no increase maximum? There should be someone monitoring the gas prices and quick to investigate these increases.

The US economy is on a death watch sometime before now and 2015 the US economy will totally collapse and I mean totally collapse in that it loses it's world currency status as China takes over that roll.


Look Congress to solve the debt problem has to two things neither of which they are willing to do.


First is create 25 to 35 million new jobs paying $125,000 a year.


Second is cut like $1 trillion a year from the US budget instead of the $2.8 trillion over 10 years or just $280 billion a year.


Pretty much anything short of these draconia measures will result in the total collapse of the US economy.

Feb 19, 2013 12:58PM
This price increase is contradictory to what should be happening. The dollar has been stronger and this usually has an effect of lowering the price. Big oil wants to make up for the price declines that lasted up until about 3 to 4 weeks ago. Reducing refinery capacity all at once and reblending , not great increases in demand are fueling these increases.
Feb 19, 2013 12:54PM
Feb 19, 2013 1:38PM

Let's see.... payroll taxes increased, (Obama said he wouldn't rais taxes on the middle class), gas is going up (Obama won't allow the Canadian oil pipeline), Sequestration will hit us in 10 days (Obama won't quit spending)...I see a theme emerging.....

Feb 19, 2013 12:53PM
Feb 19, 2013 12:11PM
Feb 19, 2013 1:01PM

Of course they are doing repair work while the middle east is in termoil and has already raised their prices.  They can do the repairs now and cause prices to go higher so when they do finish the market will have to fall or maintain the inflated prices that are being set now and they will continue to make even more money.

Feb 19, 2013 12:51PM
When is enough, enough? Big Oil rules this country. It's disgusting. Astronomical profits, huge salaries and bonuses that the little guy gets stuck paying through the nose for. So happy I'm switching to Hybrid power.
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