Published Friday, December 28, 2012
By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
You didn’t really think gas prices would stay under $3, did you?
Prices were only under $3 for about a week. And they didn’t get very far under $3, either. Most stations only got as low as $2.99, though the Sam’s Club at Fischer Crossings was seen offering regular unleaded at $2.96 for its members.
In Newnan on Friday, prices were up to $3.09 at many of the stations known for offering the lowest price gas. Other stations were much higher, with a price of $3.26 seen just off Bullsboro Drive.
The increase wasn’t unexpected, but it might have come a bit sooner than some analysts had hoped.
“It’s happened six out of the last seven years — the national average has risen between Christmas Day and Jan. 15, and this year there’s no reason to believe now that this won’t happen again,” said Patrick DeHaan of gasbuddy.com .
“Why? Sometimes it’s simply hard to find a culprit,” DeHaan said in the GasBuddy Blog. “This year oil inventories are booming, gasoline inventories have risen sharply in the past few weeks, and the holiday retail season, which feeds the bulls, has been lackluster after all the financial ‘cliff’ talk,” he said.
“During a typical year end, refineries work down their inventories for tax purposes, putting upward pressure on retail gasoline prices,” DeHaan said.
But, so far, the Energy Information Administration weekly report hasn’t shown that happening.
“Regardless, motorists across the country will see rising prices in the days ahead,” DeHaan said.
There’s no doubt that 2012 will finish the year with the highest average gas price ever, he said.
“So far, this year’s average for a gallon of regular retail gasoline is $3.61,” said Jessica Brady of AAA. That’s 10 cents higher than the annual average in 2011.
“Price trends were also off from the norm this year, with gas prices peaking in April and hitting bottom during the first week of July,” Brady said. “Motorists could very likely see pump prices increase into mid January before starting to retreat again. This year, much like 2011, was a volatile year for both oil and gas prices, with some unexpected trends,” she said. “Next year could be very similar in terms of volatility and unconventional trends.”
Crude oil closed at $91.15 on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday.
The national average was $3.261 on Thursday, up from $3.219 a week ago, according to AAA.
The state average was $3.214 Thursday, up from $3.189 on Wednesday and $3.145 a week ago.