Post-Christmas Spike For Gas Prices
Analyst: oil prices up because of sense that economy is getting stronger
The price of gas trickled back down just before Christmas after a spike last week. But now that the holiday has come and gone, the price jumped even higher.
Gas prices have risen between 25 and 30-cents a gallon at many stations since Christmas Day. "In the last two weeks, we've seen oil prices make a five-to-seven dollar a barrel increase, so we're seeing higher oil prices, which means higher gas prices," said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
"We have seen wholesale prices shoot up 30-cents a gallon in the last week-and-a-half, so this is not something that station owners are doing because they can or because they want to." Part of the reason for the rise in oil prices is the perception among commodity traders that the economy is getting stronger, meaning more oil will likely be used in the coming months.
The gas supply in the Midwest has also been hampered by problems experienced at two Illinois refineries, an Exxon facility in Joliet and a Phillips 66 plant in Wood River. "Those are temporary issues that should be behind us in the next few days, so perhaps that will give us a little relief, but we can't tell what will happen tomorrow and in the days ahead at this point," said DeHaan.
DeHaan says he believes gas prices should remain relatively stable, at least through the weekend. "Like every time after a station has raised it's price, it should start to trickle down," DeHaan said. "I wouldn't necessarily rush out to fill up, as prices should be lower over the next couple days."