I got an answer to the LOLcat's question today, at least until next December. It was the price I reported in Corner station sets new low for year.
Despite all the indicators I mentioned in the previous report that suggested that the overall price would go up, the price dropped below its previous level, as the corner station gave up all of its increase plus another penny to sell regular at $3.18. That's the lowest price of the year so far and lower than last year at this time, when the corner station dropped to $3.21 and the three stations down the road were exactly where they've been for three weeks at $3.19.That was two weeks ago. As you might have noticed, I didn't report back the next Monday because prices didn't rise. They didn't go up the next Monday, either. In fact, the corner station didn't increase gas prices until today, when they merely matched the rest of the neighborhood outlets at $3.19, the level they've been selling gas since before Christmas, more than a month ago. About the only thing right about my prediction was the the corner station would increase prices, which was a no brainer. They almost always increase prices.
As for next week, Gas Buddy shows that none of the averages I track have dropped, so $3.21-$3.25 is still possible by Saturday. In fact, I expect prices to rise on Monday. Check back that night for an update.
So, what happened? It turns out that the average price went down after the first Polar Vortex cold snap ended.* The national average floated down from the $3.30 on the 11th to $3.27 on the 21st and is now up a penny to $3.28. The Detroit mean dropped even more during the same time span, from $3.31 to $3.21, then went up to $3.26 yesterday. The Michigan trend was even more extreme, falling from $3.39 to $3.23. No wonder the prices stayed down. Frankly, had I been paying attention, I'd have been calling for the prices in my immediate vicinity to fall more, possibly to as low as $3.11. I'd have been wrong about that, too.
As for the future, I still anticipate gas prices following the seasonal pattern and rising. The price of oil alone should push them up, as Gas Buddy shows that West Texas Intermediate is coming up off a low so far for the year of $92 on the 13th to $97.32 today according to Oil-Price.net. That site also shows Brent Crude having gone up this week over $108, although it fell today to $107.58, which is still above where it had been most of the month.
Just the same, neighborhood prices are still a dime below where they were last year at this time. The forecast I made for lower average gas prices I made in A boring ten days in the gas war plus a predicition for 2014 still looks good.
*The polar vortex has returned. I was just out in the cold, but that's the last thing I want to blog about right now.