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

705Comments
Feb 20, 2013 10:25AM
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Time to enact Directive 10-289.   A version is coming, just a matter of time.  God bless us and good luck!
Feb 20, 2013 10:16AM
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Nothing like a little expense to bring the Troll Aid Drinkers out.. WWRD, first of all he wouldn't give a crap about what you think. No! That would br second, First would be lining the pockets of his friends, than he would do what I said first. You would be singing his praises while he is screwing you and not even having the common curtisy to give you a reach around!! Someone had the bright idea of bringing up Bush, Where is your Hero? Finding him is like trying to find Waldo. The first X-President that is in hiding.What other President that left office has went into playing Hide and Seek?

As for these Fuel Companies, Closing a Refinery for upgrading and Maintainance is one thing. Closing more than one is playing an ENRON (prople in CA remembers this band of outlaws) Game. All you Trolls just want to jump on the President when you should be approaching your Senators and asking why they close one Refinery at a time to keep the cost of fuel down to the Consummer.

Oh man, your Sippy Cup is getting low, here let me refill it with Troll Aid for you.

Feb 20, 2013 10:10AM
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 All "American" politicians should be checked to verify that they actually have 46 human chromosomes.
Feb 20, 2013 10:04AM
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At last count I believe there were 152 refineries in the US..and 11-12 sit idle because the gas/oil cartel doesn't want to...in their own words..." to drive down the market by over producing".  Criminal company policy allowed by criminal politicians.
Feb 20, 2013 9:55AM
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Where is my REPUBLICAN atty general in Michigan ? It gas gouging nothing more ! Your AGs in your states are to protect consumers from this ! < Do any of you idiots on this board know this ??Blame Obama all you idiots want ! He does not control wall street speculators you fools ..Typical useless uneducated Americans ..
Feb 20, 2013 9:50AM
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You might remember approximately 2 months before the presidential election gas prices started a significant downward swing.

Now, shortly after Obama’s inauguration…

Ya gotta wonder if our president truly has our countries best interests in mind.
Feb 20, 2013 9:40AM
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We have overloaded the cart pulled by that blind mule that we call our government. Whenever your congress people come to town ask them the hard questions and insist on results. If they won't show up or don't live in your state anymore (like Harry Reid), write  and call.  But whatever you do, don't vote for them again.

Feb 20, 2013 9:34AM
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Greeeeaaaatttttt......just great.   Food up.  Utilities up.  Gas up.  Taxes up.  Medical insurance up (thanks Obamacare...idiots) Income flat.  Tell me once again you low information uninformed Obama voters...why did you reelect him?
Feb 20, 2013 9:21AM
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If you can't beat them, join them. Quit your whining and buy some oil stock, better yet a refinery stock.
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Something needs to be done about federal and state taxes on gasoline.  Federal sales tax on gasoline is currently 18.4 cents per gallon for unleaded and 24 cents per gallon for diesel.  State taxes vary, but on average run about 48.8 cents per gallon for gasoline and 54.4 cents per gallon for diesel.  This includes the 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax. 

 

That means if you fill up a small sedan, which holds around 14 gallons, you are giving between $6.83 and $7.62 to uncle sam!

 

And that is before you factor in the actual cost of gasoline.  Bottom Line:  Fuel Taxes need to go down. 

 

 

Feb 20, 2013 9:00AM
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When you control SUPPLY AND DEMAND and are totally unregulated and untouchable the price will never go down. The only ones that could do anything about it the oil companies are making them filthy rich so the only conclusion is......... WE ARE SCREWED!!

 

Everyone could drive Mopeds and you would still not be able to afford filling it up. They will get their profit margin if it goes to 20+ a gallon to get it.

Feb 20, 2013 8:50AM
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PRIUS,PRIUS,PRIUS, sort of has a nice ring to it !   WELLLLLLL,,,,  maybe not yet, wait till they get it up to 5 bucks a gallon !
Feb 20, 2013 8:30AM
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Gas prices will go down as soon as there is none left or after all the consumers get tired of taking it up the poop chute and stop buying any for a couple days. It's up to us, really.
Feb 20, 2013 8:08AM
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CONGRESS STINKS. SCREW THE TAX PAYER.............................

Feb 20, 2013 8:02AM
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So all you ignorant people who wants to blame gas prices on the President...look again at the CEOs' whos' pockects and bank accounts swell and the share holders who are smiling !!!
Feb 20, 2013 7:54AM
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you put his black **** in office DEAL WITH IT
Feb 20, 2013 7:53AM
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Obama sucks period. He doesn't care what happens as long as he gets what he thinks is right.
Feb 20, 2013 7:50AM
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I guess prez and family really thought they deserved that nice long weekend of golf and skiing at the tax payers expense while we can barely afford to put gas in our vehicles and food on the table.

 

It is a really sweet racket the government has going up there, would love to see that expense report.

 

I guess that cutting spending in government doesn't include their expense account............GO FIGURE!!!!!!!!!

Feb 20, 2013 7:44AM
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when are we going to rise up and stop this bull s***
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