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 3:50PM
You think you pay too much for you fuel? How about next year's obamacare?

“Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured………But not everyone must prove they are a citizen.”

“And now, any of those who refuse, or are unable, to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.”

-         -  Ben Stein

Feb 19, 2013 3:46PM
thanks a lot you ****ing democrats....i am done driving for quite some time thanks to the wodnerful democrat ****s. hope you enjoy your ****ing poverty
Feb 19, 2013 3:46PM

Like I said buy enough votes even a loser can win. I am prepared to

lose a lot as in the last 4 years.The administration does not HAVE A CLUE

Feb 19, 2013 3:45PM
Feb 19, 2013 3:43PM
If Obama had one hair on his **** he would be fighting for self independence on oil, right here in N America,, we could have our own oil association (call it the North American Trust Treaty) and tell the Arab countries to kiss off. Canada, Alaska, Mexico, and the United States of N America,,, but I'm afraid he is clean shaven,,,,  
Feb 19, 2013 3:42PM
analysts are puzzled by the increase?????? was it so puzzling about corruption and greed?
Feb 19, 2013 3:42PM
they have figured out a way to get around the "supply verses demand" deal and the "polictics" and charge accordingly. no government can or will stop them because of the $$$$$. we are at the mercy of their greed and need for record profits. oil / bank and insurance companies have our short hairs. the only solace to this iz -  when they die (and we all do) they cant take any of it ($$$$$) with them. just look at what the egytians left behind thinking otherwise.  
Feb 19, 2013 3:42PM
Well, when Bush was president and gas was $1.86 per gallon, every time the gas prices increased I heard the liberals blaming Bush, I guess if obama is really the president then he needs to take the blame for these prices.
Feb 19, 2013 3:42PM
Why do you suppose oil companies prefer to sell their product to foreign countries?
Increasing production here at home will not lower the price of fuel here at home.
Feb 19, 2013 3:40PM

kinda of funny just the other day they said it was the fed printing to much money and thew dollar sucks. at least you idiots should get your lies to match. ****, obama said 5 bucks a gal. 3 years ago and that what we will see, thanks lib's ya did America good,, pay's suck so obama needs to get money somewhere to pay his cronies that got him into office. they really should go after the ones that voted for him, hahaha


Feb 19, 2013 3:40PM
hmmm...where's the outrage from the left??  oh right, GW isn't in office anymore so there isn't any!
Feb 19, 2013 3:39PM
i thought there were laws against goughing? but not with this administration or current politicians!! I am tired of hearing all of the excuses, cant these a#%holes spell greed
Feb 19, 2013 3:37PM
What economic recovery?

The GDP SHRANK the last quarter.

The delusionists are running the asylum.
Feb 19, 2013 3:34PM
guns arent killin people the economy is , its bad out here in the trinches thats why people are killing let me spell it again     OBAMAS SUCKIN ARSS ECONOMY
Feb 19, 2013 3:26PM
Yes the big oil companies decide to take in profits 2 months early so they can make wall street happy at their billions of dollars made off good ole hard working Americans and our government stands by and watches without lifting a finger.....

Wallet says OUCH!!!
Feb 19, 2013 3:24PM
Feb 19, 2013 3:21PM
You got to love organized crime running the country and the F.B.I,. not doing **** about it. Jimmy Carter did something about it in his day, The windfall profit tax. We are being gouged by prices at the pump. When oil goes up, shipping cost increase. Those cost are then sent to the consumers in the market all levels. Cost of Food, Utilities , etc.... Some one is trying dam hard to derail and destroy our economy.
Feb 19, 2013 3:16PM

The govt & the oil companys are all F*CKING THEIVES!

Feb 19, 2013 3:12PM
Go to electric cars (charged with solar and wind) and screw oil and coal companies all at once. They're milking a finite resource and hurting people who drive to work or depend on goods that are shipped by truck while coal is killing us with Mercury and CO2. They are more interested in making obscene profits than they are of their countries economy and the health of its people. Find out how your congressman is tied to big oil or to king coal. Follow the money and you'll see easily why we're getting screwed. Don't give me the BS that we don't have the technology. Who killed the electric car in the mid 90's. Vote them out!
Feb 19, 2013 3:08PM
It's all about GREED and getting all they can get and to heck with the rest of us.
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