Don’t expect gas prices to go down anytime soon

You recall the tale about a frog that is placed in cold water that is slowly heated until the frog is boiled to death?

Motorists may be feeling a bit like that proverbial frog at the gas pumps. Metro Atlanta gas prices — up 3 cents in a week to an average $3.52  — continue a gradual climb that analysts warn could reach as high as $4 a gallon by May.

“Overall, gas prices increased about 3 cents from last week and unfortunately, they are likely to increase again this week, albeit minimal,” said analyst Jessica Brady, a AAA spokeswoman.

The national average price of regular unleaded gas is $3.50, a 3-cent increase from last week, Brady noted. Georgia’s average of $3.52 a gallon and Florida’s average of $3.63, both increased 3 cents from last week. Tennessee’s average price of $3.44 increased 6 cents from last week.

A sluggish U.S. economy that’s lowering demand for oil, Europe’s economic crisis and the early shutdown of numerous U.S. oil refineries for maintenance are primary reasons for the creeping prices at the pump.

“As long as Europe battles their debt issues, we’re going to see global oil demand diminish along with Europe’s economic growth,” said Brady. “At some point consumers should start to see retail gas prices stabilize, as historical trends have shown. It’s very evident the rate of increase at the pump has slowed, but we’re still paying more week after week and closed refineries are still taking the blame.”

Brady explained that multiple refineries shut down in February in the Northeast, Texas and Louisiana. Typically, refineries go into maintenance mode at the start of March to begin switching from a winter fuel blend to the more expensive summer blend. As even more refineries go off line in March, the average price of gas will continue to rise, she told the AJC.

In metro Atlanta on Sunday,  gas prices were 44.5 cents a gallon higher than the same day a year ago and are 11.5 cents a gallon higher than a month ago, noted GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick.  The national average has increased 12.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 34.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago, he said. Some of the largest cities – New York and Los Angeles, for example –  are already closing in on $4 a gallon,” noted DeHaan.

Track gas prices in and around in Metro Atlanta.

“Retail gasoline prices have continued to slowly rise across a majority of the United States,” said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. “With the exception of one state- Wyoming- all states are seeing their gasoline prices averaging over $3/gallon again, with some of the largest cities- New York City and Los Angeles closing in on $4/gallon,” DeHaan said.

19 comments Add your comment

All the more reason to...

February 14th, 2012
3:47 pm

trade your gas guzzler in for a 40 mpg Mazda 3 with Skyactiv technology. I got one last month and it rocks on fuel economy while still being a blast to drive.

Marshall

February 14th, 2012
4:48 pm

As long as gas prices are on the rise the economy will continue to stagnate. In this election year the incumbents will do everything in their power to keep them down. With that said, there is really not much they can do about supply and demand. The president nor the congress really can control the price at the pump and that is what the voters really are concerned about.

Mason

February 14th, 2012
4:51 pm

Don’t we have like 30 years of oil reserves? You would think that during this economy maybe releasing 5 years worth might be a good idea and bring the prices down while we destroy/take control of the middle east?

Brosephus

February 14th, 2012
4:52 pm

You still don’t mention the 800lb gorilla sitting on the pipeline. Before the onset of the global market, our decreased demand, even when coupled with refinery shutdowns, would not cause gas prices to shoot up as high. Nobody mentions the fact that gas is a hot export commodity now. It was number one last year, thanks to demand beyond our border. The world and our economy has changed. Unfortunately, our mindset and thought process has not kept up with the changing times.

The free market, Global Edition, will cause our prices to go higher regardless to what our domestic demand does. Oil companies are going to seek profits when and where they can. If that means selling gas to China or India, we just have to be prepared to pay the going price on the world market now. It’s no longer just about our demand.

native atlantan

February 14th, 2012
5:28 pm

There has always been oil countries making threatening noises, refineries off line for maintenance, hurricaines heading towards the Gulf, pipelines leaking, etc. I dont care what BS they try to cram down our throats the supply demand equation for market pricing is not working, and isnt going to work while speculators, oil companies and governments have their way. I dont give a rats ass what anyone says, oil should not be more than $50 per barrel, and I figure between $1.50 and $1.75 per gallon at the pump.

Fed up with ignorance

February 14th, 2012
5:29 pm

If the main reason we went to Iraq was for oil (you know, Bush’s “war for oil”), you’d think gas prices would be going down…I’m just sayin’

Robert

February 14th, 2012
6:03 pm

So the cause of rising prices is sluggish demand? That makes no sense.

Supply and demand should mean that low demand=low prices. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

Instead, we have customers being gouged by speculators, taxes, and the like.

native atlantan

February 14th, 2012
6:15 pm

If your business is dependant on consumers discretionary spending, then your screwed. Motorists will pay whatever they have to for gas, but they will cut way back on “stupid” things like clothing, entertainment, vacations, dining out, etc. A large gas price hike is going to hurt your business even more than the economy is doing now.

gordon24

February 14th, 2012
6:40 pm

just think what would happen if nobody bought gas for one day, yea it’s been said before but just think what would happen

H

February 14th, 2012
9:22 pm

I quit sitting on 400 like all the other morons do everyday and started taking Marta…I wave to them everyday as I read the news, save money and don’t put miles on my car anymore. Common sense people-use some.

joe

February 14th, 2012
9:23 pm

if you have a lower demand for oil as the article says then the price should decrease… wow.

Prices are going up for a variety of reasons: mid east issues, no oil production statewide, etc. But overall it’s hard to say. A few years ago it was easier since you had katrina and other various things going on. But now it’s a combination. And president obama is completely ignoring the issue. He’s going to get hammered for this in the coming election. Stopping keystone pipeline, rising debt, weak dollar, stopping oil production in the gulf, etc. This is all going to come back and bite him hard.

dogman

February 14th, 2012
9:24 pm

Gas prices are up for one reason “GREED” when the oil companies want some more millions they just raise prices and Congress won’t do anything about it. Obama is stopping the proposed pipe line from Canada to Texas which would create jobs and lower gas prices but he is against for some crazy reason. I agree we the people can stop these high prices. If we would tell these crazy middle countries to drink their oil to keep from starving to death which is what they would do if we didn’t produce enough food to feed them and they respond by raising the price of oil or cut production. When the US invaded Iraq President Bush said if we could get control of all that oil gas prices would come down. That was a joke! Let’s not buy any gas for a couple of days and see what happens to the price of gas.It will come down.

joe

February 14th, 2012
9:25 pm

oh and don’t think this is just temporary as the article says. Prices have been going up the last 12 months! it’s not just a change in seasons. It’s something more long term. Since obama took office prices are up 83%!! when bush was in office gas above 2.50 was big news. Now 3.50 is the new norm…

Dawgman 099

February 14th, 2012
9:30 pm

4 years ago the rising gas prices were blamed on the Bush. Haven’t heard a word about Obama and the high gas prices.

pelosa

February 14th, 2012
10:15 pm

It’s all because Bush and Cheney are oil men. Oh wait, they left office 3+ years ago. Who do we blame now?

Bulldawg

February 14th, 2012
10:33 pm

Can you imagine what the price of gas will be if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities or if Iran starts blowing up oil tankers in the Persian Gulf/Strait of Hormuz? As the saying goes, “We ain’t seen nothin yet.”

HENRY

February 14th, 2012
10:49 pm

I was going to buy a new car but I will rethink that one. Things that will bring down gas prices–kick Obama’s ass out of the White House, elect Newt President, and drill, drill drill.

joe

February 14th, 2012
11:10 pm

interesting how this article has disappeared from the front page and you now have to literally search for it on ajc.com… I don’t even know why I continue to come to this site. Selective reporting of the news at its finest.

Can America adjust to higher gas prices?

February 15th, 2012
7:08 am

[...] gas prices don’t spike until the summer, when driving picks up. Not this year. Gas prices are already surging to $3.50 per gallon nationally, in part because a number of refineries in the Northeast, Texas and [...]