Gas On The Rise Again
The latest spike in gas prices could make 2012 the most expensive year in history for average price. According to the energy tracker Telvent DTN, the average pump price so far this year is $3.61 a gallon. The most expensive annual average was last year, at $3.51 a gallon. The latest surge has seen an increase of 30 cents in the nationwide average in the past month, coinciding with the peak summer driving season. Here in Texas, the average is about 20 cents less than the national figure, but still at $3.49 a gallon.
Nevertheless, there is positive news on the horizon. Doug Shupe with AAA Texas tells KTRH drivers will likely have to be patient for another month or so. "There will be some relief in sight, and that's after the Labor Day holiday once the summer travel season comes to an end, and the refineries start transitioning to that less expensive fuel blend," he says. Shupe cites the high demand of the summer driving season and the recent increase in crude oil prices as the two biggest factors behind the latest price spike. But Mike Breard, oil and gas analyst with Dallas-based Hodges Capital, says there are other issues at work. "If anything bad happened in the Middle East, that could impact oil supply, and that's the biggest short-term problem that could occur," he tells KTRH. Breard also cites higher ethanol prices due to drought-stricken corn crops.
Following the weekly and monthly gyrations of fuel prices can sometimes seem like a roller coaster. Breard notes that the fuel market is similar to other markets for goods and services, but it seems to get special attention because gasoline is the only product with its prices constantly posted on every street corner. "If supermarkets posted their milk price and orange juice price, and you could see them every day as you drive by, then you'd probably get a lot more calls about milk and orange juice prices."