For those of you who haven't filled up lately, I suggest you do it sooner rather than later to take advantage of lower prices that are slowly evaporating.
We started the week off averaging $2.65, today's GasBuddy numbers show that number has risen a penny overnight, and will likely close out today at $2.68, as a number of cities in the Midwest see a large price increase.
Areas in the Midwest are currently seeing their prices rise from the $2.50s to near $2.80 as a result of area-dominant Speedway. Speedway typically sets a specific time when they raise prices chain wide. With over 1,200 stores in just four states (they have stores in nine states, but not as many in the remaining five), Speedway has the muscle to spike gas prices at all their stations in a few moments time. (READ MORE!)
For the rest of nation, prices will continue to rise, some places may rise a few pennies a day, some might see double digit gains. We'll likely see the "$3" sign come back out in more areas of California and the West Coast, with Gulf States closer to $2.60-$2.75.
The trend will continue as global oil demand increases as much of Europe and North America are suffering bitter cold weather, increasing demand for heating oil, derived from crude oil. This will increase demand for crude oil, sending prices higher. Crude oil stockpiles now stand just 1% higher than a year ago, so the sooner this cold snap is over, the better.
Prices in many areas of Canada will also jump above 100c/L, if they haven't already. While prices will rise in Canada, they will rise slower than prices in the United States, but they ultimately might climb higher (as a percentage) than we see in the United States.
Oil is holding over $80, Prices of spot Natural Gas have spiked 54% so far this morning and stand at a whopping $11/MMBtu while natural gas futures stand between $5.80-$6.20, a increase over the $3-$4 range we saw in the fall months.
My expectation is that prices in the U.S. will close out the week averaging close to $2.72, while prices in Canada will be near 102c/L.