Gas prices swinging upward after spiral

AAA spokeswoman says increase is only temporary

Drivers might have noticed during the morning commute gas prices swinging upward at local stations after a months-long spiral that slashed the national average for a gallon of unleaded gas from a record high this summer.

Thursday’s average for a gallon of regular gasoline in Grand Junction was $1.519, according to AAA, up from $1.477 the day before and $1.50 on Dec. 31.

Statewide, average gas prices in Colorado are pennies higher than the Grand Junction average and are creeping upward as well. Thursday’s statewide average for regular gas was $1.531 a gallon after sitting at $1.508 on Wednesday. Nationally, a gallon of regular gas increased four cents from Wednesday to Thursday for an average of $1.762.

But price monitors with AAA think the increase is temporary.

“We are seeing, both in Colorado and nationally, gas prices increase a little bit,” said Wave Dreher, spokeswoman for AAA’s Denver office. “That has a lot to do with what’s going on in the Middle East.”

Israel’s continued bombardment of Hamas in the Gaza Strip is making oil investors nervous, Dreher said, so oil has been trading at about $48 a barrel this week, which is $8 higher than it has been.

A stronger dollar against the yen and euro also is pushing oil prices higher, Dreher said.

Several local gas stations increased their prices overnight. A gallon of regular gas jumped five cents to $1.40 at the Bradley Sinclair station at 3218 F Road.

The Diamond Shamrock, 1015 North Ave., increased regular gas prices from $1.43 to $1.49 between Tuesday and Thursday.

Dreher said recent production cuts made by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in recent weeks, meant to stem falling gas prices haven’t had much effect, because of large global stockpiles.

Those same stockpiles probably will be what brings gas prices back down from this temporary increase, Dreher said, because global demand is still deflated.

Dismal year-end economic reports also will bring prices back down, she said, so consumers can look for once-again decreasing gas prices in mid to late February.

“Yes, prices are up, but we think this will be temporary,” Dreher said. “We’re not going to see prices skyrocket like we watched them plummet.”


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