PRICE JUMP: Gas Prices On The Rise

Posted on: 8:06 pm, February 18, 2013, by , updated on: 08:08pm, February 18, 2013

Dominique Ankeny was in for a surprise when he went to the gas station Monday. “Last time I was here, it was $3.33 and the time before that, it was $2.99,” he said.

Prices hit an average $3.72 per gallon around the Des Moines metro.

According to AAA gas prices have risen for 32 straight days.

“I try to not drive a lot of places because of how high the gas prices are,” Ankeny said.

Paul Jansen feels the opposite; he just moved to Des Moines from the east coast and says $3.72 seems like a bargain after paying over $4 a gallon for some time.

Jansen may not be noticing the spike now, but economists like Drake Professor Thomas Root say soon everyone will notice. “Refineries start to shut down in February and March and switch over to their summer blend which is a change in how they produce gas every year.”

Refineries’ shutting down is just part of the equation that determines how much you pay for a gallon of gas. Most of it has to do with supply and demand of crude oil.

“Crude accounts for about 60-70 percent of the gasoline price,” Root explained.

He says there is some relief in sight, but we’ll have to wait a few months for it.

“If you look at the futures prices in terms of oil, it does show prices leveling off in the summer and leveling off in the fall.”  Root says prices tend to level off later in the year because the winter blend of fuel is cheaper to produce.

Another thing he says would drive gas prices down is less dependency on foreign oil. Root says world-wide competition for crude oil drives prices up. The more we can produce here, the less he believes people will pay at the pump.