Gasoline prices have risen to a 19-month high and could go up another 20 cents with spring driving season here.
According to AAA, the current average price of unleaded gasoline nationally is $2.38 per gallon, an increase of 8% from the end of March. The current price is also just above the highest average retail price during 2016 and is the highest level since September 2015.
The global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service, Tom Kloza predicts:
“I think we’re going to get another 10 to 20 cents. Anything beyond that would be event driven.”
Mr. Kloza thinks that oil would stay in the mid-$50s per barrel, and any unforeseen event raising the price of oil, like a geopolitical factor or any other event, would also make the price of gasoline go higher.
Gasoline prices usually go up in the spring as the demand increases when refineries turn to summer driving fuels. The price peaked at $2.379 last year, and it is currently 34 cents higher than the price same time last year. Gasoline prices stayed flat in March since there was a glut of winter fuel for the gasoline market.
The decline in crude ended last year in February when West Texas Intermediate bottomed at $26 per barrel; the price has doubled since then.
On Monday, WTI oil futures for May were trading close to $53.
President of Lipow Oil Associates, Andrew Lipow thinks that gasoline could go higher. He added it depends on the “oil market and we’re seeing risk premium.” The premiums have stayed relatively small, but crude did move higher after the U.S. bombed Syrian airfield.
Mr. Lipow added that oil would get a boost after OPEC and partners decide to extend their production agreement in May.
Mr. Kloza said that he doesn’t believe that the current rise in the price of gasoline at the pump and the anticipated increase has anything to do with Syria.