Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The spring gas price rise has finally begun

It's been 18 days since I posted Corner station moves up only a penny from low for year, which is a long time between gas price updates for me.  The reason for that was that nothing was happening.  Prices remained at the boring $3.19 per gallon up until last Saturday, when I saw that the corner station had increased its price to $3.49.  It was still that high this morning, which made me suspect that the stations down the street had also raised their prices; the corner station does not hold its position in No Man's Land that long without company.  Sure enough, all of the rest of the stations in the neighborhood were selling at $3.39.  I was pretty sure that the corner station would match them by the evening.  When I came home, it had.  The price rise I predicted would happen a month ago has finally started.

Just the same, gas prices are still lower than last year, when the gas price shot up like a rocket at the end of January and gas was selling between $3.49 and $3.59, then increased to $3.55 a week later followed by $3.59 by the end of the week and $3.75 the week after that, which happens to be a year ago this coming Thursday.  That means that gas is 20 cents cheaper than last year on this date, and could be 36 cents cheaper than a year ago by Thursday.

I'm not alone in noticing this.  New Deal Democrat at XE.com did as well, asking Is the Oil choke collar releasing?  His answer boiled down to "maybe" and "I hope so."  He also recognized that "prices could start rising by 10 cents a week beginning tomorrow," which is what happened here, but not nationally, where gas is still well below where it was last year at this time.

In fact, the national average is below where it was two years ago at this time (January and February are in red for easy comparison).

Even with the recent price rise, gas is 20 cents cheaper than last year at this time nationally, just as it is locally.  I'd post Professor Farnsworth, but I save him for declines, not lower than expected increases.

As for what to expect next, the national trend is for increasing prices, but here in Metro Detroit, I think prices will hold for the next few days.  The national average from Gas Buddy rose a penny a day from $3.26 to $3.29 over the weekend with no signs of slowing down, while the Detroit average shot up from $3.26 to $3.37 in two days and then stalled.  The neighborhood stations are actually over the metro area average.  That's not usual for them, so I expect their prices will hold steady for a while.

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