The price of gas is a widely covered news item these days. Oil prices have moved up from $75 a barrel in October of last year to more than $100 a barrel currently. And the trend continues to point toward even higher oil prices. Of course, along with the price of oil, gas prices have also risen, almost in lockstep.
The price of gasoline today is 10% higher than it was just two months ago. The average price for a gallon of regular is almost $3.62. Gas prices in January have been the highest ever recorded price for that month. Many economists and energy analysts believe a rise to $4 a gallon is inevitable. But their estimates could be grossly understated. Gas will reach $5 a gallon before the end of the year.
Two warring trends are pushing and pulling gas prices. On the one hand, Americans now drive less than at any time in the past 11 years. On the other hand, gasoline and oil inventories are at very low levels around the world, and traders believe that supply will tighten significantly. The fact that Americans drive much less will not offset an interruption of supply from the Middle East, a decision by refineries to charge more to turn oil into gasoline, or higher demand from emerging economies like China and India.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the major reasons that gas prices have risen in the past quarter and analyzed whether the causes will improve or worsen. We have estimated how much each factor could increase gas prices. Together, those increases would be enough to push gas prices up by another $1.50.