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 7:41PM
 Exxon-Mobil only made $46 billion dollars in profit while Chevron was a close second at $26 billion but don't worry CHANGE is still coming.  Medical, illegal immigrants and the new tax reform means change to me and my Tax Paying family.  I voted for Romney. 
Feb 19, 2013 7:41PM
Actual quote from Obama:  You haven't seen anything yet!
Feb 19, 2013 7:38PM
burn all the gas stations down and  blame it on our black king
Feb 19, 2013 7:35PM
the rich get richer and poor get screwed once again isn't life just grand
Feb 19, 2013 7:35PM
Hey, don't bit*h, you idiots voted for him. It was Obama that stated about a year or so ago that $8 per gallon gas would be good for this country. Dig deep to fill your tanks, suckers!!!
Feb 19, 2013 7:32PM
This is all bullsh!t. The higher the stock market goes, the higher the gas prices go. It's called "global wealth shift." Until this country is willing to tap into its own resources, we are at the mercy of OPEC and must pay whatever they want or do without it.
Feb 19, 2013 7:26PM
we need the pipeline obama don't want it he is making everybody poor. Then we will all be equal. Goodby middle class. He had 250,000 when he became president, now he is worth over 11,000,000.00. Where did he get this money Solindra?
Feb 19, 2013 7:20PM
Not sure if the Walstreet Journal article explained the compensation salaries for many employees in the oil industry.  Despite the sympathetic "this is all Exxon made" from a barrel of oil I know for a fact that employees in this industry do enjoy quite the extreme bonus payout.  I know first hand a couple of people who work for oil producers who are paid quite decent base salaries and yet each year they receive massive bonuses.  One has received annual bonuses these past several years equal to their base salary (nearly $100 thousand) and the other received a bonus last year over $40 thousand.  In addition to that they still enjoy many, many perks.  And these aren't executives folks.     I haven't sniffed a bonus in over 7 years!  The reinstatement of the Social Security tax break (2%) and the ObamaCare impact along with these racing up gas prices has impacted my lifestyle quite a bit.  I have begun cutting back on anything extracurricular (i.e. eating out, going to the movies, gym membership, fishing hunting activities, cable TV).    I'm sure others are facing similar decisions and thus this in turn has a domino effect on the economy. 
Feb 19, 2013 7:15PM

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.

Feb 19, 2013 7:14PM
Lets face it the guy in the white house does not care about the American people since he is not an American.  He cares for him, and is backed by the biggest Communist on the planet and unfortunately the richest.  We are all under his misguidance, and the only good thing I can say is that I too, did not vote for the rummey..
Feb 19, 2013 7:10PM
Monopoly...when is America going to wake up?!  This is pure greed. We do not need a pipeline we need some new refineriess. There is no competition anymore. One refinerie shuts down and all the oil companies raise their prices? Price fixing and monopoly! 
Feb 19, 2013 7:00PM
Here is the truth about gas prices:


Highest price ever.......June 2008

Feb 19, 2013 6:54PM
Ever notice how the stock market does great when gas prices go up? Kinda makes you want the stock market to just go away. But the politicians won't let that happen. They will bail them out with our money.
Feb 19, 2013 6:52PM
Our liberal tax crazy socialist bastards  in Washington are directly responsible.
Feb 19, 2013 6:49PM
Yeh, sell that SUV we are going FORWARD in a compact from Japan.
Feb 19, 2013 6:48PM
We have plenty of oil in the ground and Canada wants to sell us cheap oil but our Glorious Bastard in the White House would rather see gas at 8 or 9 dollars a gallon so we will want to buy his electric tin foil cars. We could have gas less than a dollar a gallon if we drilled our own oil and built more refineries. We haven't built a refinery in years. The problem is dumba$$ liberals electing dumba$$ leaders that have a liberal BS agenda.
Feb 19, 2013 6:47PM

I hope it goes higher..............Then we can really appreciate Obama's energy policy. How about those increases in your payroll taxes? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. It's just tooooo funny.

Feb 19, 2013 6:46PM

I have a feeling all those 30 to 45,000 dollar gas hog pickup trucks will be depreciating faster than you can say, " NOW I CAN'T SELL IT, NOW I CAN'T SELL IT, NOW I CAN'T SELL IT !

Feb 19, 2013 6:46PM
Are we going forward yet? Wait.......I need some gas.
Feb 19, 2013 6:46PM

Read The American Legion March 2013 Pages 36, 37, AND 38. It's says we the U.S. have more oil than any country in the world. Somethings wrong with this picture. I've tryed to post this earlyer for some reason it won't post. Wonder Why?


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