Hopes of falling gas prices have once again diminished after the nationwide average price for a gallon ticked up less than a penny Wednesday, to $3.68 a gallon, according to AAA. That’s down from the record $5.02 average in mid-June.
Leading to an end to the 99-day streak of falling gasoline prices, many energy analysts believe that prices are more likely to rise than fall, with this hike.
“I suspect that we will see choppy prices for gasoline through year-end, with some down days and up days,” said Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service. He predicted that the next streak will be a run of price increases early next year, driven by investors, speculators and “the fear that there won’t be enough fuel to go around.”
Phil Flynn, an analyst with the Price Futures Group, said prices will head higher once withdrawals from U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve — a million barrels per day for six months — end this fall.
“The market is going to start pricing that in, and refiners are not going to be getting this cheap oil from the reserve,” Flynn said. “The odds are we’ll see a significant price spike of oil come winter.”
The 14-week decline in prices was the longest streak since 2015.