Posted in: Gas Prices,
by Patrick DeHaan on Apr 14, 2012 11:12 AM
Wholesale prices drop significantly one day, then rise significantly the next. In what's making forecasting prices seemingly much more difficult, severe volatility is making it ever so difficult to forecast when prices will rise and fall.
A few weeks ago, gasoline spot prices, the price stations pay before tax, hit lows not seen in weeks. Since then, spot prices have been on the rise again, meaning you likely saw prices drop at your local gas station only to see them rise in the last few days.
The West Coast and Great Lakes markets have seen the most volatility lately, with Great Lakes area prices falling quite low only to bounce right back up. I get the question "have prices peaked?" I'd like to think they have, but as soon as such a statement is made, prices seemingly go slightly higher.
The national average is still not as high as it was a week ago- so indeed prices may still have peaked. However, that doesn't mean that prices will drop significantly- which is what many expect. We continue to be in the midst of refinery maintenance season, which means that really anything can happen, but I certainly don't expect prices to get too much uglier.
To explain more of what I mean, there was a refinery fire at a ConocoPhillips plant in Northern California that almost immediately boosted spot prices of gasoline. That means that motorists in parts of California may see higher prices. Will they rise higher than they were a month ago? Likely not, but just because many have said prices have "peaked" doesn't mean they won't again come close to that peak.