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

708Comments
Feb 19, 2013 2:13PM
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Americans, such a bunch of whiners. Always need somebody to blame things on. I am one too, but currently living in Belgium. The gas spike is global, and has nothing to do with the president. We are seeing it jump quickly over here too, and we don't have a president to blame it on. Prior to moving here, during the Bush dictatorship, I saw gas hit $4.29 a gallon in Colorado. But it eventually went back down. Over here in Europe it seldom goes down. Our current price today in US Dollars would be just over $10.00 a gallon.
Feb 19, 2013 2:12PM
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The gas prices will stop going up and up when these gas companies such as Exxon who just announced they made a $44+ billion in profits stop getting greedy.

Feb 19, 2013 2:08PM
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So why are we paying higher prices per gallon when it was announced Exxon made over $44 billion in profits?  It is the greed of these gas companies that keep the American economy where it is.  Obama needs to work on the gun and gas situation.
Feb 19, 2013 2:07PM
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The Chimp in the White House has admitted he would like to see gas at $8 a gallon, as that is the point where his precious wind and solar energy becomes competitive. We are sitting on about 200 years worth of natural gas that could replace most gasoline and diesel, but Obama his moonbat followers don't want us to drill for it.

They say a nation gets the government it deserves, so live with it. Me, I'll just keep cashing my fat dividend checks. LOL!

Feb 19, 2013 2:07PM
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yeah, thats a great excuse blame it on the refineries. i just wish they'd quit using all these bullcrap excuses and just come out and say it "we can raise the price of gas anytime for any reason to any amount and there isn't anything you can do about it."

Feb 19, 2013 2:04PM
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FUNNY HOW OBAMA IS NEVER BLAMED FOR ANYTHING! HE'S NEVER THERE WHEN THEY

VOTE AND HE NEVER GIVES A COMPLETE PLAN OR BILL EXCEPT FOR OBAMACARE AND

RAISING TAXES ON MIDDLE CLASS! AND NOW HE'S SAYING HIS ADMINISTRATION IS THE

MOST TRANSPARENT???? WHO BELIEVES A WORD THIS LYING SOCIALIST SAYS?????????

HIM AND HIS NAZI EPA AND GREEN NUTJOBS WON'T GIVE UP ON THEIR FAILED GREEN ENERGY CRAP! IT'S NEVER WORKED AND NEVER WILL BE ABLE TO SUPPLY CHEAP ENERGY!

AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA AND THE LEFT WANT! HIGH FUEL ENERGY PRICES AND

NOW FOOD PRICES ARE SKYROCKETING! I LIVE BY THE GULF COAST AND SEE HOW MUCH

DAMAGE HIS ANTI CHEAP ENERGY AGENDA HAS DONE TO JOBS! SO ALL YOU LIBS WHO ARE

TRYING TO SAY HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT YOUR A BUNCH OF BRAINDEAD MORONS!

LIKE HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH OBAMACARE? OR SOYLANDRA? OR BENGHAZI????

Feb 19, 2013 2:03PM
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I would love to kick a speculator right in the nuts!  
Feb 19, 2013 2:03PM
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You can thank the speculators for these prices.

Feb 19, 2013 2:00PM
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I am sorry I am not buying that we have a tighter supply.  We have more oil here in the United States than anywhere.  It is the speculators that are driving up the cost of oil.  Get rid of them and the price should change.  
Feb 19, 2013 2:00PM
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When is the "mighty" president going to step in and do something? He did it before. If it's "Refinery-oriented", then WHY is the costs so different? It sounds like the Fat Cats in the oil are at it again padding their 401 k's. What a crock!!!
Feb 19, 2013 1:59PM
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To those idiots blaming gas prices on the President... get a clue!!! If the President had so much influence on gas prices then why would these prices not get cut in half or better during election periods? And for you to think the President of the United States or even the United States itself has that much control over GLOBAL gas prices is ridiculous, maybe you should do a little reading on the futures market and the amount of power gas companies have to do what they would like.
Feb 19, 2013 1:55PM
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A lot of factors go into determining the price of gasoline, so it’s worthwhile every now and again to review them.
A in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal does just that, asking simply why gas costs what it does. The author – an analyst for a taxpayer watchdog group – gives a quick rundown of the basics, like crude oil costs, which can account for roughly three-quarters of the price consumers pay at the pump. Then there are expenses for refining, distribution and marketing.
But he also reveals one slice of the gas price pie routinely overlooked by those who criticize energy companies or gas station owners for high prices. He writes, “The truth is that ****governments rake in a larger profit at the pump than anyone,” including companies like ExxonMobil.
A range of government authorities share in the tax revenue from the gasoline consumers buy. To start, there’s the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon. A variety of state and local sales and excise taxes help boost the price as well. All told, American motorists every time they fill up.
Looking at it this way, the author concludes ***that “government makes far more from gas sales than all of the oil companies put together.” ExxonMobil, for instance, earned just 8 cents on each gallon of gasoline and refined products sold in the U.S. during the first two quarters of 2012.
All things to keep in mind the next time you hear criticism of oil companies for the cost of filling up.
Feb 19, 2013 1:53PM
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Here in Texas, oil and gas are plentiful. Drilling rigs are everywhere, pumping their little hearts out 24/7. We drill for it everywhere. We have many of the country's refineries and even export the oil from our ports...yet, since early January, prices have risen 50 cents a gallon. What's up with that? No one can afford these hugh increases. Just getting to work and back usually takes 2 tanks of gas (20 gal. each) per week...40 gallons. At an extra 50 cents a gallon, this increases gasoline prices at least $80 a month just to work. There have been no increase in income. The oil companies have huge, record profits every quarter, over and over and over again. They are gouging their customers using the lame excuse of maintenance on the refineries. It's not like they can't store ump-teen millions of gallons of oil/gas for distribution to customers when they do their annual "maintenance work". The government needs to END ALL oil company subsidies and close loop-holes immediately. These crooks are already richer than King Midas!
Feb 19, 2013 1:47PM
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Big oil has never really lost any money, just check your wallet!! Gas prices are going up jobs are going down, you can't have a recovery when you can't  afford to travel to find work. Companies are losing money because shipping costs are rising due to fuel prices. Speculators hear someone in the middle east has farted so they hedge the prices higher and no one seems to be watching the commodities markets to stop this useless contract  buying and selling causing prices to go up. Yes we are getting ready for spring and summer, but what good will it do if you can't go anywhere and have a bit of fun? All the politicians and their families will enjoy all the benefits of their government subsidized travels while we regular people just get screwed again for summer! I am Effin tired of  all this bulls--t  that they are getting away with, and you wonder why so many people hate our government for the stupid things they do.  Wake up , we need  things  to be fixed not fought over in DC like a bunch of babies not getting their own way, quit pissing in the sandbox and play nice, fix things for the people!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb 19, 2013 1:42PM
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This sucks....I cant afford to fill up both my SUV's, my boat. my motorcycle and my lawnmower this summer!!! Oh well maybe the tall grass will create more shade and drive down my Air Conditioning costs so that I can keep the 6 rooms of my mansion that I never actually use cool. I'd say thats a win for me :)

Feb 19, 2013 1:42PM
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So what, gas is still cheap. Based on normal inflation gas should be between $4.50 & $5.00 now. Plus, if higher gas prices hold back the economy then the fed does not need to raise rates. Higher gas prices also cause more spending on research for electric batteries and Nat Gas cars.
Feb 19, 2013 1:40PM
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Don't worry! It's all just temporary. We all have to die sometime ! That's when we'll 'get a break' !

Feb 19, 2013 1:39PM
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The crooked speculators, crooked politicians, crooked media, and crooked oil companies are the only reason the price is higher. Look around the world at the top oil producing nations and their price of gas at the pump. Now look at ours. We are now the top oil producer in the world. It is a complete scam of the American people. Anyone who tries to justify it any other way is a lying crook.
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I believe EVERYONE in the country should not buy gas for 1 week, everyone stay home and watch how quickly prices drop!!
Feb 19, 2013 1:38PM
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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.....

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