Various factors could push gas prices toward $4 by spring

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 5:43pm
Staff reports

A combination of factors colliding nationally and internationally appears poised to accelerate the rise of gas prices in Nashville, likely pushing $4 a gallon by spring and beyond that into the summer.

Earlier this week the American Automobile Association released a statement reporting that the price of gas and oil rose last week in the wake of improving economic conditions in the U.S. as well as news of a Greek bailout plan and rising uncertainty with Iran.

Such factors helped lead to a nine-month high in oil barrel prices and record February gas prices, according to the automobile club.

Last weekend the national average price for a gallon of gas was about $3.55, and Tennessee’s average was $3.48, up 4 cents from last week.

“A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if consumers might see some relief at the pump after oil prices traded below $100 a barrel for several consecutive weeks, but that is no longer the case,” Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, said in a statement released Sunday. She added, “Retail gas prices are expected to increase further this week and will likely do so well into March, making $4 a gallon more of a reality come spring.”

On Wednesday, Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy.com, purveyor of a website and smartphone app that allows users to report and view gas prices in their area, said he believed prices in Nashville would continue to rise over the next week at a clip of about 5 cents per gallon through this weekend and as much as 20 cents per gallon through next weekend.

Toews said the sharp increase is in part due to a fire at BP’s Cherry Point refinery fire last Friday in Washington state that has stopped approximately 230,000 barrels of oil a day and squeezed the supply of petroleum in that West Coast region and causing sporadic strain on supplies all the way to the East Coast.

As Toews added, several refineries going offline for routine maintenance won’t help the situation.

Gas prices will continue to rise, fluctuating over the next month or so, Toews said. “Over the next seven to 10 days here they’re going to go up quickly. They may plateau, even come down a little bit, but the long-term trend going toward Memorial Day is going to be to go much higher.”

Nashville’s average gas price sat around $3.55 Wednesday, according to NashvilleGasPrices.com, which is part of the GasBuddy.com network of sites that Toews operates. He believes, however, the reality of gas prices at $4.40 per gallon just before Memorial Day is likely.

14 Comments on this post:

By: d4deli on 2/23/12 at 6:30

I'm not surprised. I've watched the gas prices creep up, and they are poised to be at an all time high by summer. All the "excuses" are lame though. Our economy is slowly recovering, so let's jack up the gas prices! And not one mention about our domestic oil or Canadian oil. The European union "may" bail out Greece, so let's jack up oil prices. The actual cost of crude oil is so blurred by this rhetoric, and Amercians suffer the consequences. Why do we continue to play this overseas game? If we cut off overseas oil and simply used our own North Anerican supplies, it would be interesting to see what would become of the oil barons of the Middle East.

By: shinestx on 2/23/12 at 7:06

Thanks President B.O.zo! Kill the Keystone pipeline! Moratorium on oil exploration offshore! Billions in a black hole of failed solar and battery technology (Ener1, Solyndra, Sun Power, et.al.)... and no energy policy!

By: treehugger7 on 2/23/12 at 7:18

The oil from keystone is already spoken for--by China! How does that help us? Kill the pipeline since we get few benefits and all the environmental dangers. Anyone who thinks keystone is the solution knows nothing about it!

By: MusicCity615 on 2/23/12 at 8:16

If Nashville had been more proactive about mass transit, which it should have done many years ago, the effects of $4 gas would not hit Nashvillians as hard as it will.

We need mass transit and we need it NOW!

By: NewYorker1 on 2/23/12 at 10:01

I totally agree MusicCity615. The citizens of Nashville need to start pushing the political leaders in that direction. This is why it's so important for people to get out and vote and pick the right candidates for the jobs that our tax dollars are paying for. The bottom line is, the citizens of Nashville need to make mass transit happen by voting for the people that see that vision. These old-head politicians need to step down and let some young fresh minds in.

By: shinestx on 2/23/12 at 11:19

Go ahead and show everyone your ignorance. The oil via Keystone went to China after B.O.zo killed the pipeline. Even more importantly, to deny the fact that increased supply helps drop the price of a commodity is just sheer ignorance. The thing is that people can draw the lines between these points, no matter how much the left try to defend B.O.zo.... it's a symptom of his disastrous lack of an energy policy. Er, make that an "energy policy" that give funds (that we don't have anymore) to boondoggle solar companies that happen to be run by big Demwit supporters. This will be the issue that will cause B.O.zo and the Demwits to lose in November... big time... or did I say, "Big Time"? Go hug your trees, the rest of us have to drive to work for money that's dwindling after the statists in Washington take it.

By: RTungsten on 2/23/12 at 2:41

From the debates, I can't see who is going to beat Obama...but hope somoene does. What is with him apologizing about the quoran today?

By: pswindle on 2/23/12 at 3:28

He apologized for the Quoran burning to save Americans' life. President Obama is already drilling more oil in the US that than any other presdient. We would not have benefitted fron the pipline and you know it. Canada wanted the pipline to make it easier to transposrt out by using our gulfs. President Obama knows the facts. Some of you hate him so badly that you can't see the truth. TN is becoming worse state than Alabama in bering racial.

By: Ask01 on 2/23/12 at 3:42

MusicCity615 is absolutely correct. Better mass transit would be a huge step forward in lowering dependence on oil. Particularly if we follow the example of some cities and opt for electric power.

This is but one more argument for accelerating the development of alternative power sources for, well, every item dependent upon petroleum based fuels.

I'll address the first argument now, that being costs, disposal, range limits, and so on. The answer is every new technology requires time to realize the full potential. The longer we drag our feet, the longer before consumer acceptable products are introduced.

If oil companies would accept now what most certainly will be the future, and begin working to perfect batteries and other power cells, perhaps we could have a stranglehold on the world instead of the other way around.

I have said before and will say yet again, I yearn for the day we can tell the oil producing countries to pipe where the doesn't shine, then pound sand up after it.

Just think how the countries made wealthy by oil would implode when they are drowning in the stuff because no one wants their product.

It is evil, I know, but I get such a warm fuzzy feeling all over just fantasizing about such an event.

By: MusicCity615 on 2/23/12 at 5:31

yes, pswindle- everyone that doesn't like obama is a racist...

By: NilsOrion on 2/24/12 at 6:49

As far back as I can remember, which would be the early 1970s, oil prices have been cylindrical. For months or years, they stay relatively stable. Then, on occasion, they spike drastically up or down. When they spike down, the people are oh so happy, even though this event is economically a very bad thing. But when they spike up, the people are outraged and immediately look for villains and scapegoats. I doubt PRESIDENT Obama is any more responsible for this current upward spike than any leader before him.

In all this time I have never seen the people suck up and admit that their mindless consumption of this finite commodity has anything whatsoever to do with the problem.

By: BenDover on 2/24/12 at 8:21

Blame for the increase in cost appropriately assigned or not, there's not denying that this article is cover-fire for the Obama administration. There's simply no other purpose for it.

By: BenDover on 2/24/12 at 8:24

It's just like all of the articles that were outraged about anemic job GROWTH under Bush now have the Unexpected Job Losses spin. There's no news anymore. Everything you read is editorial.

By: NewYorker1 on 2/24/12 at 1:56

Well, look at the bright side to the higher gas prices, I can afford it.