GasBuddy Heat Map
Evaluating last week's prediction for this week, I said "By next Monday, the U.S. average will be virtually unchanged- some areas will see prices fall, a few areas will see prices rise (Rockies, West Coast). I expect prices in Canada to rise as much as 1c/L." So, what was the outcome? Looking at our latest GasBuddy pricing data, we show the U.S. average at $3.536, up just $0.002 from a week ago when prices were $3.534. In Canada, prices rose just 0.2c/L, so we'll call this prediction dead on.
I'm afraid I don't have the best news for motorists this week, however. I'm going to have to forecast that price averages rise. The good news is that I don't expect them to rise as furiously as they did in the past few weeks, but hey- I'm to the point where any increase, fast or slow, isn't nice.
The events that are causing prices to shift this week- the U.N. approving a no-fly zone in Libya which means NATO is essentially attacking Libya. This is again putting pressure on prices as speculators are eying how OPEC/Arab countries see these events. The concern is stability, and what impact bombing Libya may have on gas prices.
The second factor, Japan. While they have refineries offline, and will for some time to come, their demand for crude oil drops. However, they will rely on imports of petroleum products to meet their needs, which could mean demand rises in the U.S. (specifically the West Coast and Gulf as the Japanese look to export heavy oils to rebuild their country).
By next Monday, I forecast that the U.S. average will rise to $3.59/gal, while prices in Canada will rise to an average 122.8c/L. Cliff notes? Gas prices will likely remain well above $3/gal for several months, there are no breaks in sight for high prices. Just don't be like
the woman who stored two 55-gallon drums of gasoline in her basement only to see it blow up and burn down her uninsured house . Whoops!