Higher gas prices ahead

Gas prices have been unusually low this summer, but they may be on their way back up soon.  AAA says the national average could spike at least a dime a gallon by the end of summer.  So far the highest average of 2017 is $2.72 a gallon back in March.  Low oil prices and high refinery output combined to drop the average to $2.23 a gallon last month.

Phil Flynn, senior marketing analyst at the Price Futures Group, says gas prices fluctuate largely because of the endless tug-of-war between supply and demand.  “We’ve really enjoyed one of the cheapest summers for gasoline in about 12 years,” he notes.  “But these low prices really created a lot of demand.”

That increased demand is leading to reduced oil inventories in the U.S., which Flynn says will drive the price up.  “Now, I don’t want to panic people.  I don’t think prices are going to go up a dollar a gallon,” he says.  “But the day of sub-$2 gasoline in a lot of states is probably going to come to an end.”  Flynn says he we’ll probably have prices in the mid-$2 range, maybe closing in on $3 by the wintertime, but he doesn’t expect to see $5 a gallon anytime soon.

Higher gas prices may be bad news for Houston’s many commuters, but they’re good news for Houston’s many oil industry workers.  “It’s a good thing to see those oil prices go up because that’s going to help the producers and it’s going to help create more jobs eventually.”  He says he expects another boom in the Texas oilfields as the price of oil edges up again.

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