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.
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.
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.
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This will be the 3rd time I've tried to post this comment. Gas prices what a joke. The government is killing us. Check this out The American Legion, March 2013 Pages 36, 37, 38. In short it said that the good old U.S. has more oil than any country in the world. That the U.S. could break OPEC's back. Its all about the money and power. We shouldn't be paying no more than .75 to a dollar per gallon and maybe less. Something wrong in this country.
Just sick of the government control over the people. WE THE PEOPLE, HELLO.
Highest price ever.......June 2008
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