Just in time for rising gas prices in the Midwest, GasBuddy unleashed a new tool- price hike alerts. It was predicted that prices would rise in a few major areas- Minneapolis, Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Some of you members located in those areas received e-mails (as seen in this post) that warned you to fill up as prices were likely to rise today.

Prices did end up rising in all markets as GasBuddy expected, hopefully saving our members and readers money. The alerts system is being improved as well, and in the future, we hope to send alerts to those who wish in supported areas. For now, only the Midwest will be supported, as prices there are very predictable. Outside the Midwest, prices typically rise slower and are more difficult to forecast.

Be sure that your e-mail settings allow us to e-mail you if you wish to receive these e-mails. Remember that yesterday's alerts were only sent to some members in the Midwest, as the system is slowly implemented and improved. I hope a lot of you buddies saved money today! I did!

Meanwhile, oil is suffering from an identity crisis. Today has seen oil prices on a roller coaster, falling under $80, only to see prices rise over the mark, then falling again. One thing is for sure- the next few days and weeks are very important for where gasoline prices go this summer. If oil prices "hang out" above $80 for a few straight days, it could be said that a new price floor has been found. That would mean it would be very difficult for oil prices to fall under $80, and would also mean they could rise additionally.

Make no mistake, there is a lack of fundamental support for $80 oil- low demand was seen again last week by the DOE, supported by a large increase in oil inventories. Combined with a jobless rate that won't drop as fast as many hope, oil prices should easily remain under $80 in my opinion. However, it seems speculators continue to pour money into oil, hoping that a weaker dollar will increase the value of oil. They also seem to be hoping for an economic recovery that will result in an increase in demand, allowing them to resell that oil contract for more than they purchased it.

Gasoline prices will rise across the nation to nearly $2.75 in the coming days, and it doesn't appear that prices will fall anytime soon.