High gas prices burning through your checking account faster than a Bugatti Veyron through premium? At least one analyst says the pressure might drop soon. Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst for gasbuddy.com thinks fuel prices have peaked for the year, with the national average sitting at $3.92 for the last week. According to USA Today, DeHaan expects average national gas price to fall to $3.70 before May.

If you're the type to send Thank You cards, keep in mind all those Toyota Prius owners who have sacrificed driving pleasure for greater fuel economy, and the leadership in Iran who have kept things kind of quiet over there for a few days. Depending on your political bent, you can also thank either the Democrats and/or Republicans for fostering a slow economy. All those elements contributed to lower oil prices and, in turn, lower gas prices. In contrast, the Federal Energy Administration is still predicting a $4.01/gal peak next month.

Either way, don't rush out and buy that gas-guzzling supercar just yet. Any number of factors could send fuel prices flaring. Meanwhile, enjoy your cheap, $3.92/gal regular while it lasts.


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  • 28 Comments
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kudos for the author actually using the word 'democrat' in an article, but 'sacrificing driving pleasure?'. There are different types of driving pleasure out there. When I had my Escape Hybrid, I would be grinning like a maniac when I would sneak up on people in electric modem and hit the horn, or coming down a ramp and hitting the brake the right way to get the regen meter to go all the way to one side. And of course, pumping my fist each time I got it to go an extra 1/2 mile in full electric. Driving pleasure is not all about burn outs, drifting, and 0 - 60.
        Domenick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        The post originated from Autoblog and so reflects their "enthusiast" bent, where driving dynamics are valued above many other factors. Thus, the sacrificing driving pleasure comment.
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        The "Democrat" link goes to a discussion of Karl Rove and Crossroads GPS, funded by an Oil Speculator. This is how the Republican party works. They drive up the price of oil in the Paper Oil market, and Blame someone else. Did you get that EZEE? Glad you like the Escape Hybrid.
          Smith Jim
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          The blame lies squarely on us, the consumers.
          EZEE
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          But he still said 'democrat'. You have to realize that for ABG, that is a big deal. Besides, high gas prices are great! Less gas purchased, better for the environment, smaller vehicles, hybrids, electrics... We should all thank Karl Rove and the speculators then, as they may be saving the planet!
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      There might be a small bump due to switching to summer gasoline mixes. But it probably has plateaued for now.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hydrogen on the market with also natural gas and batteries can push the price of petrol down. This website have push the price of gasoline up 50 cents by naysaying hydrogen.
        goodoldgorr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        I found this 1 hour documentary about hydrogen fuelcells. It's now my preferred movie of all time beating les charlot au grand bazarr that's been made in the seventies and the godfather with marlon brando also from the seventies. This is 1 hour of pleasure fulfill with all you need to know about the future of humanity. Enjoy.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Maybe hydrogen proponents are pushing up gas prices by not actually selling these miracle cars I keep hearing such great things about.
      EV News
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fuel prices are driven by GLOBAL oil demand and the biggest market drivers are Brazil India China and Saudi Arabia. Google "BICS Oil Demand" and you'll soon find this "senior analyst" has about as much chance of accurately predicting the future as reading tea leaves.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EV News
        they may also be talking about seasonal fluctuations - refineries switching from home heating oil over to gasoline. The 'peak' is certainly not a long term thought, but more of a 'for right now' thing.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Im not interrested to buy but sometime i have too..
      atc98092
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the Seattle area I haven't seen gas under $4 for many months. When's it gonna get to this number? :)
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      This sounds reasonable. Here is a chart generator for petrol prices in the US over time: http://gasbuddy.com/gb_retail_price_chart.aspx Looking at the 18 month chart prices last year peaked at around this time of year, and there are signs that this year they have already peaked. This is lower than I thought would be the case, as my best guess was around the $4.15-30 mark. It seems that the tough economic times have led to cut backs in consumption limiting the rise more than I expected.
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      What motivation would the oil and gas companies have to keep the price at $4? They would earn more money by charging $6-7, they could get the GOP to blame Obama, then use the 'profits' to give out $2.50 gas once Romney gets in and won't attack them or promote alternative energy anymore. It sounds a lot like what happened in the 70's/80's... Even if the oil companies don't play that game, the hedge fund/rich/financial companies could all invest in oil over the summer in an cartel type way to raise the price and create a bubble in oil. It probably wouldn't be too hard to convince some anti-Obama refinery owners to do maintenance in October...
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        The notion that speculation can over a longish period of time raise or lower oil prices lacks an effective mechanism for that to occur. Gold and silver are nicely compact, and can be easily and cheaply stored for months or years. Try doing that with a tanker full of oil, and see what it costs you. There is speculative froth, upwards and downwards on the oil price, but it is a zero sum game where you place your bets on the future, whether tensions in the Gulf will lead to war and so on, but the sustained rise in oil prices since 2005, with fallbacks but now on a much higher level is due to demand and supply, not speculation. One can argue that the oil price has been controlled to some degree by Saudi's surplus enabling them to flood the market and bring prices down, but post 2005 there is no solid evidence that they actually have the spare capacity to do much of that at all, so maybe oil can be held back, rising prices but not the other way. That would not work though if demand for oil were not fundamentally high, and supplies constrained. Conventional oil production has only grown by 1% in the six years since 2005, and even the expensive all liquids production by only 1% per year, which is trivial considering rising demand from the BRICs and internally in the oil producers themselves, leaving less for export.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Marco: Thanks. It is not easy to get over the point relatively simply. I have of course simplified the argument, and one type of 'speculation' can still work, although not what we traditionally think of as a speculation. That is to leave the oil in the ground, and some like to talk wildly about how Saudi could if it chose massively increase production at the flick of a switch. Well, there is no evidence of any large surplus. In previous high price episodes Saudi did indeed operate as the swing producer and turned on the taps forcing prices down. Since 2005, lots of talk and no action, which in my view tells us something. In that context it should be noted that the current more modest projections of the likes of the IEA all see the amount of oil available at a price we can afford to the OECD actually falling, to make way for the increased use in China etc. To make their increases in overall production work to accommodate the BRICs they give OPEC production as rising quite sharply, particularly Saudi. This would not only involve a break with past practise, and fields being exploited unprecedentedly quickly, but flatly ignores what the Saudis themselves are saying, ie no sustained increase over current production. Over time either oil prices go up, or the world economy crashes so badly that no one can afford the oil anyway. The idea that either speculation or the OPEC cartel is causing high oil prices does not fly.
          marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @ Dave Mart Well explained, and basically correct. US citizens tend to think of Oil supply, only as it affects the US . The price of Oil is also affected by the rapid expansion of the three giant PRC Oil companies which are expanding into exploration and exploitation on a world-wide basis. The first clash came when Qaddafi decided to trade with the PRC instead of France and Italy. The result was the overthrow and murder of Qaddafi by rebels led by French special forces, financed by Total Oil, and backed by NATO. The blocking of PRC ships to Libya by the US Mediterranean fleet, is only part of a long clash between the West and the PRC expanding it's global hunt for resources. Immediately following the Libyan humiliation, the PRC embarked on a $4 trillion Naval and Air expansion program to provide the PLA with the military capacity to secure it's resource investments. Simultaneously, the PRC government announced an export restriction on rare earths. Energy, is the life blood of the industrialised world. Rising prices of coal, create rising prices of electricity, and help to raise the price of oil. But the main cause of the increase in oil prices is the slowing pace of advances in Oil extraction technology,. Exploration, drilling and extraction in more and more difficult terrain, will see the price of oil continue to rise as the pace of Oil depletion, overtakes technical improvements in extraction efficiency. Despite, brief respites, the price of oil will continue to rise until one day it's just uneconomic to use as transport fuel. That day is not tomorrow, but it's inevitable. Advances in alternate energy, less consumption, better technology, will all help to eke a few more years of life for oil as an energy source, but eventually oil will be reserved by economics, for it's 3026, non-fuel uses.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @mikedimmick: Yeah, there is undoubtedly speculation in the oil market. The question is though whether that can over a period of years elevate prices, as that is the basic argument of those claiming that current prices are a result of speculation, as they have been way up most of the time since 2005 compared to earlier periods. How do you make your money on this, unless fundamental demand is high? If you buy futures and do not want to take delivery of the oil, then the only way you could continue that speculative position and so doing potentially raise prices would be to roll over the contract, ie sell it and buy a longer dated future. That trade costs money, so doing that repeatedly would bankrupt you. The only way you make money on that is in a bet against folk shorting it, and that is a zero sum game, as one end or the other will loose what the other gains, and both pay commissions and charges. So in my view there is simply no mechanism which makes that interpretation of higher oil prices over the last several years to be due to speculation.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          I'll agree that it's not easy, but politics isn't always rational. And I wouldn't put it past the right-wing to do something like this instead of doing the normal advertising route.
          Mike Dimmick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          Speculators do not buy oil. They buy oil futures - contracts that allow (but do not require) exchange for physical product at the end of the contract. If the owner chooses not to exchange for physical, it is exchangeable for the index price listed at the time the contract closed - that is, the contract seller buys it back. I don't think the contracts are necessarily even on paper, they can be purely electronic. Oil production has not grown because demand has been static or falling in the West. It may be growing in the developing world but not enough to outweigh the falls in the developed world. An interesting site to look at is the US Government's Traffic Volume Trends data, especially the moving 12-month total at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/travel_monitoring/12jantvt/figure1.cfm . Prices are completely decoupled from the reality on the ground. Speculators just follow each other, reacting to news that theoretically could affect production (e.g. Libya last year) but then mostly reacting to the price changes caused by that reaction.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @DaveMart
          @Ryan: Bumping prices for a month or two is a different matter. The easy way to do that is to provides some substance to rumours of an attack on Iran, a flyby by an Israeli jet or whatever.Failing co-operation by the Israeli's there are plenty of other scare tactics which can be used by the likes of GS - an official sounding 'study' of risks in the Gulf by organisations on the lines of Pikes might do it.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      and pigs fly
      karlInSanDiego
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here in San Diego, our prices are always high, and they never drop anywhere near the national average. We have a happy little Cartel here that have been price fixing for years. I have no faith, whatsoever that gas prices have been influenced by production or supply or competition for decades. It is price fixing and the few remaining oil companies that own the few remaining gas station brands don't wire in any profit margin for gas station operators on the sale of gas to allow them to use price changes to encourage sales. So oil company sets rate for your region, tells station operator to be happy with the 5 cent profit per gallon (regardless of $4.40 retail price) and sell those Monster Energy drinks to pay their expenses. That leave 5 Masters of the Universe to determine how much they want to charge for something that most cannot do without. Of course every excuse about Middle East stability affecting our gas prices has been a giant bull$hit sandwich for years. We get more oil from Canada and Mexico. And China and India demanding more, thus our prices must rise accordingly. Also BS. There is no production bottleneck, as witnessed by our constant ability to fill an army of SUVs for two decades with no interruption. Looking forward to BEVs.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        Yeah, there is a bit of a cartel up here in Northern California as well that causes us to have very high prices. But "Big Oil" is not the big oil it once was. They are peons now compared to the national oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, Kuwait, etc. Oil production growth has virtually stalled since 2005 while China keeps demanding more. That has caused the price to increase in order to ration out the oil by price. Specifically where you get your oil from does not really matter much . . . it is a fungible commodity and if you won't pay the world market price then they'll sell it to someone else. An exception is the stranded oils sands oil from Canada that can't make it to international ports. But when the pipeline is built, it won't be stranded anymore such that oil prices may actually rise in the mid-West after building the pipeline . . . something a lot of people will get a rude awakening to.
          EVnerdGene
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          "when the pipeline is built" uh, yeah; when ? Who is stopping it and why ?
        EJ
        • 2 Years Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        "And China and India demanding more, thus our prices must rise accordingly. Also BS." Yeah, I'm sure those 1 billion Chinese & Indians who gave up their bikes for cars has had no impact on the supply chain of a resource that has those crazy oil companies washing off tar sand and drilling through 5 miles of sea water. But that's good news for you since that also means that all those additional upstream water consumers won't have any impact on your unlimited water supply either.
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