The holiday season is a time for joy, merriment, and usually cheaper merchandise. This year, it is also a time for higher gasoline prices. A number of refinery issues that serve different ports around the country are sending prices of future contracts higher, just as oil prices are on the rise upon upbeat news about the global economy.
Analysts predict that theses factors could shoot gas back up to its yearly high of $2.90 at the pump, or even higher before retreating in the second half of the month. On Thursday, the national average for regular unleaded gasoline rose to $2.879, 8 cents higher than last month, and 25 cents higher than last year.
Reports this week show increases in U.S. manufacturing activity, retail sales, and the housing market. Investors are also optimistic about measures in Europe to alleviate the debt crisis there, as the European Central Bank is taking measures to provide cash for banks to steady the financial system.
The national average is expected to test $3.00 per gallon this year, and possibly top that in the spring, ahead of the summer driving season.
– By: Stephen Calogera