Los Angeles Times. Analysts are predicting a steady increase in gasoline prices in the spring that could result in an average cost of $3.75/gallon across the US and more than $4.00/gallon in California.
Ongoing higher demand is one factor, along with persistently strong crude oil prices and the absence of the traditional December drop in pump prices.
The Energy Department’s weekly survey of service stations Monday found the average pump price was $2.980 nationally and $3.261 in California, a couple of pennies lower than a week earlier—but much higher than the same period last year, when the number was $2.341 across the US and $2.607 across the state.
“It’s unprecedented having prices this high at the end of the year,” said Marie Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.
According to the DOE’s most recent Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude averaged $72.05 a barrel this year, up from $66.02 last year, and could hit nearly an average $85 in 2008.
...by the middle of next spring [gasoline prices] are projected to rebound to over $3.40 per gallon as the driving season begins.—11 Dec 2007 STEO