As the saying goes if you're riding Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, "Keep arms down, head back, and hold on!" Well, we're not on a roller coaster at Cedar Point's flagship Sandusky, Ohio amusement park, but we continue to feel dizzy and disoriented from all the changes at our local gasoline stations.
Gasoline prices shot up in areas last week, led by stations in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. Average prices in the last week rose 6.1c/gal in OH, 5.7c/gal in IN, 4.8c/gal in KY, 3.6c/gal in AK, 2.5c/gal in MN, and 1.1c/gal in MI. Missouri prices rose 0.04c/gal, and every other state saw prices decline, led lower by North Dakota, where prices fell an average of 11.6c/gal, Nebraska fell 6.8c/gal, SD dropped 6.7c/gal, and Iowa, who fell 6c/gal.
This week, I expect more areas to see average prices rise as the price of WTI crude oil has risen nearly $10/bbl in just over a week. Gasoline futures have also risen 10-20c/gal depending on region, and I expect that will begin to eat into station margins, thus stations may begin to raise prices to remain in the black.
The reason for the rise in crude oil prices seems directly connected to more positive sentiment regarding Europe and their debt issues. Germany and France virtually guaranteed key banks money to reign in these debt problems, and Greece got another guarantee from these countries for assistance. The thinking is that with debt problems on the back burner, the economy will grow at a healthier pace, keeping demand for petroleum at a good level, putting upward pressure on prices.
With this news, we're also dealing with a weaker U.S. dollar which is also putting upward pressure on crude oil prices. Can we catch a break!? Doesn't seem possible anymore. Average gas prices remain nearly 60c/gal higher than a year ago, and I expect in the next few weeks, that gap may widen as we see the national average rise yet again. Hang on for the ride, folks! Now would be a great time to use your points to try and win our weekly $250 gas giveaway!