Evaluating last week's prediction for this week, I said "By next Monday, I forecast the national average in the U.S. to rise to $3.06 per gallon, while Canada prices will average 111.2c/L." Looking at our latest GasBuddy pricing data, we show the U.S. average at $3.056 per gallon while prices in Canada are coming in at 111.6c/L. I'll call that a very close prediction.

Now that most of us are back to the daily activities following the holidays, I expect demand for oil products to fall slightly. We're entering the time of year that demand is typically weakest as many stay indoors as cold temps prevail over much of the country. I'm hopeful that we may see a small decrease in prices (not this week) by mid-to-late January. We've seen such decreases in a handful of previous years, and I believe we'll see it again.

Pressure for gasoline prices to rise will also be limited as we enter the New Year and oil shipments resume. Typically crude inventories drop slightly towards the end of a year and pick up again after the New Year as deliveries halt because of year-end tax purposes. Now that shipments will resume, we may see an increase in supply.

Having said that, I'll keep a close eye on this week's Department of Energy report. I expect we'll see one more report showing a drop in crude inventories, but expect that come mid-January that trend will reverse.

By next Monday, I expect the U.S. national average to rise to $3.08 per gallon while prices in Canada will rise to 111.9c/L. Happy New Year to all our GasBuddies!