Are gas prices about to take off?
Prices at the pump have been dropping for months. Industry analysts are trying to gauge future movement, but say the 'fiscal cliff' could be a determining factor.
Has the easing of prices at the pump been a final holiday present for consumers, or just part of the annual cycle of supply and demand?
Gas prices have been dropping for months. Several cities even reported unleaded gas dipping below $3 per gallon over the holidays, but in recent days the price of gas has been creeping up. The national average for a gallon of unleaded was $3.28 Friday, up from $3.26 Thursday and $3.23 a week ago, according to AAA.
AAA singles out several factors for the decrease in prices this fall and winter: larger gas inventories, lower crude oil prices, less demand for gas during the winter months as well as a switchover to less-expensive winter blends of gasoline. The ongoing economic downturn is also having people think twice about how often they find themselves at the pump.
But prices are due to bottom out sooner or later. And now, with crude oil prices firming and continued political and economic uncertainty, the market is apparently at a crossroads.