There is a relatively new reason to believe gas prices will rise, at least in part of the US. CNNMoney reports that almost 50% of the gas refinery capacity in the Northeast will be shuttered within a few months. This will be driven by the closing of a Sunoco (NYSE: SUN) facility. ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) turned of the lights at its refinery in the region late last year.
US drivers are already bedeviled by gas prices which are near $4 on average for a gallon of regular. Leaks in platforms in the North Sea, trouble with supply due to Iran sanctions, unrest in Nigeria, and a spread of government protests in the Middle East have pushed WTI crude above $100 and kept it there.
There is some hope that if the US and its energy allies open their strategic oil reserves that crude prices will fall. But, there was an attempt at that in mid-2011 and the cost of oil only stayed down for three months. It is also an open issue of whether the Saudis will cut their production if oil reserves are tapped. The world’s largest oil producer has a number of reasons to keep prices high.