Prepare for Pain at the Pump as Oil Prices Head Higher

AAA says prepare for higher pump prices
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
NEW YORK -- The price of oil rose Thursday as a positive report on the U.S. labor market and more cold temperatures boosted expectations of higher demand for fuel.

Meanwhile, the auto group AAA reminded drivers that spring is on the way -- and along with it, higher gasoline prices.

Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery rose 46 cents to close at $97.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after earlier rising near $99.

The Labor Department said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits declined 20,000 last week to 331,000, suggesting that Americans are facing fewer layoffs and better job prospects. Those figures came a day before a widely anticipated report on January employment.

With chilly temperatures across the middle of the country and into the Northeast, demand for heating oil remains strong. That should boost refineries' need for crude oil.

The cool weather has had the opposite effect on gasoline demand: drivers hunkering down in their homes don't use the car. The average price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. is $3.27, down 5 cents from Jan. 1.

Still, AAA said Thursday that gasoline prices will soon be on their way up. Refineries are starting to shut down for winter maintenance, which reduces supply. They also gradually switch to more expensive summer blends of gasoline over the coming weeks.

"Winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies have kept gas prices relatively low recently, but this trend may not last much longer," said Bob Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA.

This rise in price happens nearly every spring.
This year, AAA predicts the nationwide average price will peak between $3.55 and $3.75 a gallon, lower than last year's high of $3.79, reached on Feb. 27. Right now, gas is on average 28 cents cheaper than at this time last year.

For all of 2014, AAA expects the nationwide average to be at least five cents cheaper than last year's $3.49.

Natural gas prices were volatile again. The price rose 7 percent to $5.40 per 1,000 cubic feet in the morning, but then fell sharply. The Energy Department said the nation's supply of natural gas dropped by 2.62 billion cubic feet last week. But analysts were expecting a decline of at least 273 billion cubic feet, according to Platts. Natural gas futures fell 10 cents to close at $4.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Brent crude, a benchmark for oil sold internationally, gained 94 cents to $107.19 on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
  • Wholesale gasoline gained 4 cents to $2.68 a gallon.
  • Heating oil was flat at $3 a gallon.

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sick of these greedy oil criminals !

February 07 2014 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

We need more bycycles !

February 07 2014 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

It's all just a scam, refiners, speculators, oil companies all working to keep prices high, even though there is a glut of crude oil. And the Keystone pipeline will do nothing for U.S., that oil is headed to the gulf and then to overseas markets.

February 07 2014 at 9:39 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

A Black Man,,,,who is a good friend of mine told me years ago.....
The trouble with the White Man is,,,,,,THEY WILL NOT STICK TOGETHER...
America can do something about high prices,,,,,cut back on driving,,,,and ect,,,,Show government,,we mean business also.!!!!!

February 07 2014 at 9:24 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Isn't it interesting that just yesterday I read that they are pushing for the ban on oil exports to be lifted?

February 07 2014 at 8:11 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

OK, So what are you going to do about it besides sit here and type and b i t c h.....?

February 07 2014 at 7:37 AM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply

Buy Exxon stock

February 07 2014 at 7:09 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

Back in the 80\'s I started studying petroleum geology. I dug for all the information I could find. I even got a book from Queen Elizabeth II titled \"Our Industry Petroleum\" which contained a wealth of information. I became a top expert. I found a 5 billion barrel reserve worth today, around 400 billion dollars. Yes, I own the mineral rights to the land above it. I\'ve never even drilled it.
I also invented a type of tunnel that allows for drilling under Alaska that never touches the eco system.

But this wont do much to cut your gas costs. Here are some tips from an expert.
A major gas saving device is this computer you are on right now, especially map quest.
How ? Map quest shows you the shortest route to anywhere. Fewer miles you drive, less gas you consume.
Opt for the best fuel efficiency. A Toyota Prius gets 50 mpg for example. Or consider not driving at all and ride a bike or take public transportation.
Plan your trips and keep your vehicle in top shape with full tire inflation, fresh air filter and fresh spark plugs. Drive smoothly - hot rodding cuts fuel economy in half.

February 07 2014 at 7:08 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

go ahead raising cost of fuel and gas and foods and living expense and more they are getting richer dude digging my wallet . come on go ahead why dont raise gas 10 a gal or 15 dollar . ur greedy dude

February 07 2014 at 2:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No gas pain here. Been driving electric cars since 1998. Also no repairs pain, or filters, or lubricant changes, ... Only tires to replace.

February 07 2014 at 12:26 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply