Against a backdrop of a gain in U.S. gasoline stockpiles, wholesale oil and gasoline prices are currently trading well below their yesterday close.

The DOE report released this morning showed that gasoline stockpiles finally climbed higher after three weeks of declining numbers. Gasoline stockpiles in the U.S. climbed 1.7 million barrels last week, or nearly 71.5 million gallons, while oil stockpiles increased a modest 800,000 barrels.

Among other news released in the report, refinery inputs climbed, perhaps suggesting that some refiners are finishing maintenance and resuming normal operations. Demand for gasoline fell to 9.1 million barrels, but still remained higher than a year ago.

It's important to note that gasoline prices across much of the country are higher than they were last year. If everyone can remember, the U.S. national average fell under $2 last December as the economy tanked and oil prices collapsed.

While I don't see gasoline under $2 happening any time soon, I do see prices moderating in the next few days and even starting to fall towards mid-November. Prices will begin their rally closer to New Years Day this year, much like they did last year.

Until then, prices will continue to climb, but at a much slower pace than they have in the last few weeks. I'm forecasting the national average to top out around $2.72 before heading back down to $2.49-$2.60 for mid-November.