Don’t expect gasoline prices to go down any time soon

By Robert Stanton
Houston Chronicle staff writer

As the price of gasoline at the pump continues to soar nationally, Houston motorists can breathe a sigh of relief as prices remain a bit lower here.

But for how long, that’s a different question.

Nationally, the average price for unleaded regular gasoline at the pump topped $3.51 a gallon, a cent higher than the record average price last year, according to AAA gas gauge. Houston drivers are paying on average $3.43, or or 4 cents more than last week.

Gasoline prices have been slowly climbing to the $4 mark in 2012 as three northeast refineries close, high oil prices and tensions in the Middle East drive up the price at the pump. So far, gasoline prices have risen more than 20 cents in the past month, and those prices are likely to climb even higher.

Tom Kloza, chief analyst for Oil Price Information Service, said drivers should expect to see higher prices in the near future after the average national prices topped $3.50 this weekend.

“Recent history suggests that when fuel prices surpass $3.50, they stay there for some time,” he wrote.

The national price for gas surpassed the record annual average price in a mere 42 days. Last year, gasoline prices didn’t eclipse $3.50 a gallon until March 8, and in 2008, which posted the all-time high at $4.11, gas prices didn’t hit $3.50 until late April.

During 2008, regular gasoline, which hit an all-time high of $4.11, stayed above that $3.50-mark for 138 consecutive days after hitting the mark in late April, Kloza wrote. Last year, the stay was even longer.

After hitting the mark on March 8, motorists paid more than $3.50 a gallon for 203 consecutive days, Kloza wrote.

Lowest Gas Prices in Houston

Houston Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

robert.stanton@chron.com

57 Comments

  1. henrygates12

    They will price fix gasoline to be anything that keeps their profits. Stop playing the game and just tell us what the prices will be this year. Stop acting like we have no control over it. Supply will be choked according to demand so that the price at the pump meets their target number.

    #1
  2. westtex

    What I love is when the Libs cry about the “Obscene” 4% profit that the oil company makes per gallon of gasoline but they LOVE the 15% profit the GOVERNMENT makes per gallon!
    -
    4% is obscene for the people that take the risk, explore and then produce the oil but 15% is OK for an entity that does NOTHING but strong arm them for money?
    -
    Yeah Libs! 4 more years of that! I can’t wait! Sign me up!

    #2
  3. #3
  4. lgccac

    Thanks, Obama.

    #4
  5. txloanguy

    Obama promised high gas and energy prices. He did it. Pipeline that will create jobs and help oil dependence? Drilling offshore the U.S.? No, we need renewable “Green” energy that can’t make it on their own, so we have to subsidize and subsidize.

    #5
  6. SaltWaterCroc

    The joys of oil speculators. Well, at least the traders will continue to get wealthy.

    #6
  7. Ridge

    I thought the chosen one was supposed to solved this little issue of high gas prices.

    #7
  8. mikebone one

    Yeah, and that two bit crook Perry will now “fast trac “(this means free to pollute )a record 16 coal fired plants on you well meaning fools. Here to help.
    Nobody is here to help you people at the pump or in your wallet. And that mythical jobs jobs jobs thing is a tune to make the little puppets dancea penny jig.
    Dad was a founder. I sat in on the Humble board meetings. I promise you never once was “helping” anyone but us discussed. That is just the way it is.
    BUt even at that at least we didn’t conspire to pollute. To think some of us opposed to our best the Exxon buyout on “priciples”. Might be a hint for a few of you regarding your “friends”in the energy biz these days.
    You are letting these billionaires choke your childrens future for a short trem quick buck. Or the mythcal belief you can get a new freakin TV out of it.
    ANd this new frakin industry where they can tell you fools this new natural gas burns clean (and it does) all the while engaging in a ground and air destruction the likes of which we haven’t seen since the ACT. Exempt from the clean air and water act- A license to poolute your kids lungs and water for What? Where is that mythical price break? Well as you read yesterday gone with the industry wide production slow down because prices startied droppoing- that is where.
    This muti billion dollar industry plays you like fools with all those tired ols “tree hugger” cliches while the US govermnet exempts them for Federal Price gouching laws and now the Act.
    Everyone else has to play by those rules.
    But what the heck- I love my exxon buyout stock. Wish i had enuf to be living in the South of France or the Carribean like most of the big boys.
    I do feel a bit of soorrow for them- Ijust had to drive down the street to the meetings- those guys jet in and chopper down. Tough.

    #8
  9. Rich Adler

    “three northeast refineries close, high oil prices and tensions in the Middle East drive up the price at the pump”

    So they are telling us because they closed refineries that they reduced the amount of the fuel inventory? I think not.

    Or are they telling us that because Oil Prices are High, they are going to be higher?

    Or tensions in the middle east are driving up the price at the pump?
    That kinda just resonates as people driving investors fear and manipulating the price of oil. NOWHERE have I read that we have lost inventory and that demand has risen or that they are producing more consumers all of a sudden.

    In the end it is us, the consumer, who is getting the shaft.

    There is a reason I stopped driving a car….

    #9
  10. Smedley

    It’s conditioning… at 2.50, everyone said I’d be glad to pay 2.00 for gas. At 3.00, everyone said they’d be glad to pay 2.50 again, etc…

    #10
  11. xanegrey

    the US has made a tremendous blunder in allowing oil companies to dictate foreign policy. we are like a smoker hooked on smoking – in 1974, the US should ahve started its quest for renewable and clean energy. How could anyone think importing oil from the middle east is a good idea and yet we do it still.

    brazil is energy independent- using ethanol from sugar cane for fuel.

    are they smarter than we are ? yes !

    watch the economy lurch into a full recession again if gas hits $4/gal- sane thing happened in 2008.

    #11
  12. Dweezil

    Get rready for record profits by the oil companies. Consumers suffer, companies proper, all based on speculation.

    #12
  13. Ranger82

    Guess he should have approved that XCEL pipeline from Canada?

    “Stupid is as Stupid does”

    #13
  14. ConroeKid

    Who’s to blame?!? The evil gas companies!!!!! Shame on them!!!!!

    If there was only a solution for this problem, maybe like a trans-national pipe line that would help our dependance on Arab oil, which would help not only prices at the pump, but create 10′s of thousands of job here in America….

    Oh wait…

    #14
  15. BigTexN

    $4 a gallon gas…up from $1.69 when Obama took office
    ======================================================

    Thank you Mr. President….May I have another? OUCH!
    Thank you Mr. President….May I have another? OUCH!
    Thank you Mr. President….May I have another? OUCH!
    Thank you Mr. President….May I have another? OUCH!

    Thank you Mr. President….I’ll be sure to return the favor November 2012!

    #15
  16. maximus1059

    How you people liking that change? Doesn’t feel any different than the Bush years…

    #16
  17. Toocan

    What a bunch of claptrap. US gets most of its oil from Canada & US refineries export more gasoline than we keep here. The reason the refineries closed is to limit production because demand has gone down.

    #17
  18. FTW

    This is good news for Obama and the dems re-election chances.Obama said during the campaign in 2008 that he would do nothing if gas went to $10.00 a gallon.He’s been working towards that since he got in office.

    #18
  19. Richard Roma

    Thats it. Occupy Gas Stations. We had enough!!!

    #19
  20. Richard Roma

    Thats it. Protrst Gas Stations. We had enough!!!

    #20
  21. Adler

    All because Obama and his industry hating administration are actively attempting to prohibit production activities in the US. So we all get screwed thanks to liberals electing him.

    Just to put this into perspective. At $100/bbl for crude, a gallon of gasolne costs $2.38. This is without any transportation, refining, and marketing costs or taxes added to it. So let’s start.

    1st, the feds get at least 12.5% of every barrel produced. Our gallon of gas now costs $2.72.

    Now let’s add marketing costs or what you local convenieince store needs to earn to stay open. Let’s say a gross income ratio of 6%. The gallon now costs $2.89.

    Surely the transportation company neds to earn money for trucking the gas to the station. Gotta pay those Teamsters driving them. So another 6%, and we’re up to $3.08.

    Can’t burn crude, so the refinery needs to earn some money too. Another 6%, and we’re up to 3.28.

    Dont forget state and federal excise tax at the pump. In TX, that’s 38.4 cents, so our gallon of gas now costs $3.664.

    So, the station is selling it for $3.50, but the real price should be $3.66. Is it any wonder that convenience stores charge so much for everthing else the sell? They have to just to stay in business.

    #21
  22. RBBR

    Funny thing, gasoline and crude oil continue to go up and up and up … and natural gas prices continue to slide down. So … why aren’t we using more natural gas? We have plenty of it right here. At what point will the price of gasoline and/or crude oil force people and companies to consider using natural gas?

    #22
  23. retiredff

    The fall, before Obama took office, it was $1.85 a gallon. Killing the oil industry is but ONE of the many reasons to send Mr. O packing!!

    #23
  24. Pat

    Funny how gas has gone up yet the oil fund ETFs have been flat for the past 3 months.

    The system will screw you no matter how you try to play the game.

    #24
  25. Oscar Juan Carlos

    Thank you comrade Presidente Obama!
    Your comprehensively confusing energy policies, enviromental regulations mismanagement, and destablization of the Arab world all continue to have backlash at home.

    #25
  26. Jaeger Cat

    The title of this article should be: “Don’t expect gasoline prices to go down any time soon because Big Oil needs another record-breaking quarter of profits.”

    #26
  27. Dan X. McGraw

    Retiredff, gasoline was $1.83 because of a recession that sent oil prices low ($40 per barrel range).

    #27
  28. Dan X. McGraw

    Adler, this gives a little better break down of the cost of gasoline: http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/. I doubt gasoline stations would be taking a 16 cent loss on every gallon of gas.

    #28
  29. Trail_Tramp

    In other news, Iranian patrol boats shadowed a US aircraft carrier as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz.

    #29
  30. Bill in Houston

    Mmm mmm mmm, Barack Hussein Obama, mmm mmm mmm.

    Should’ve been “baa baa baa.”

    #30
  31. tazz3

    Closing down refineries? So what the article should say is gas prices are artificially high because of the closings. This is all about the filthy stinkin rich Texas oil men playing their games to wrack in ultra high profits so some CEO can get his Yacht and Island off Panama.
    So, OPEC has been replaced as the main threat to the U.S. fuel supply. Hey, I hope at least one CEO somewhere at some time is happy then there might be some sense of sanity to all this, but if the CEO’s are still miserable and causing all this global hardship, then that is a real shame.

    #31
  32. tazz3

    With the confirmation of huge oil reserves just off Panama and this soon to be built pipeline gas should be as low as $2.00 a gallon or less. This quote is from two days ago. “Once completed, the pipeline system will provide service to the local units of Petrobras and Italy’s Eni, as well as Exxon Mobil Corp., Anadarko U.S. Offshore Corporation, Apache Deepwater Development and Plains Offshore Operations, all of which operate in the Lucius production area”. I always thought that there are laws against monopolies and oligopolies?

    #32
  33. Jackalope

    “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Energy Secretary Steven Chu

    #33
  34. Dan X. McGraw

    Source please

    #34
  35. Dan X. McGraw

    Tazz3, if gasoline is under $2 again, it won’t be a good reason — for oil companies or our economy. Gasoline dropped to the $1.83 range in Jan. 2009 — yes, right before President Barack Obama was inaugurated — but it was because a global recession had sent oil prices to the cellar. Oil was trading around $40 per barrel. It’s not trading in the $100 range.

    #35
  36. David Gower

    “….US refineries export more gasoline than we keep here.”

    Toocan – No way! Argue your oppinion but get your facts straight. But what if they did export more? Exports work out for OPEC and Nebraska corn farmers and Microsoft.

    #36
  37. Big Pappy

    And I suppose PART of the increases can’t be attributed to Odumbo running up the deficit? Watch Greece very closely, it will be coming to a town near you soon……..)!! Thanks Zero!!!!

    Pappy

    #37
  38. MrColdWaterOfRealityMan

    How funny that last week, there were a bunch of ginned-up news stories about how oil production in the USA was increasing.

    Golly, let’s hope it doesn’t keep increasing or none of us will be able to drive. :)

    #38
  39. Jaxxx

    Np one is to blame except the OIL company’s!!!

    #39
  40. Gettingrichoffsuckers

    I hope gas gets to $9 a gallon! I own a lot of oil stock. I drive a homemade electric car and solar & wind power my home and garden. I’m getting rich off stupid lazy Americans. Cheers!

    #40
  41. In a sign of one major internal difference, Mr. Chu has called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.

    “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.

    Believe this was September 2010, but could have been earlier.

    #41
  42. Bill in Houston

    @ Dan X.

    Here’s the source of the Chu quote:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122904040307499791.html

    Times Tough for Energy Overhaul
    December 12, 2008

    By the way, oil was trading in the $40 a barrel range during the economic boom of the early 2000s too.

    #42
  43. Bob

    The comments about this article are so predictable. I think we had the identical comments on a similar article a couple weeks ago. Probably from the same people who blame Obama for everything. On the bright side of things, everything is big in Texas, but not big enough to ensure the eventual winner of the Presidential race.

    #43
  44. dsl987

    Tazz3 – the reason those refineries were shut down was because they were losing money. This does not mean the price is artificially high, it means the remaining refineries can now actually run at a profit instead of a loss.

    #44
  45. established.facts

    this is what happens when we let a sick infested government run things…
    they show us daily of their incompetent and insubordinate ways.
    and ya know , it aint gonna get no better unless we all march up to the white house and yank out a few fools . this will send a message to the rest of those fools who wanna follow try the childish extortion antics .
    the thing is , if we keep letting them get away with it , it’ll only get worse…

    #45
  46. Bill in Houston

    I’m thinking I could make a fortune selling pitchforks and torches, and cheap tickets to DC.

    #46
  47. itsmetres

    Its a good thing we over regulated refineries to the point they arent profitable anymore. Shouldnt we already have a 2nd source of energy BEFORE we start trying to get people off of gas?

    #47
  48. Evolutionist

    Greedy is a voracious appetite for infinite profits that makes capitalism inhumane, and some people stupid. The unregulated and volatile prices of gas are opening gates for vultures feast. Gasoline prices go up so the grocery prices, and the economic suffering of poor people. And while the assault on its own citizens is justified by their legal delinquents and accomplices, with sarcasm of fifth category, the ninety nine percent of protestors are occupying the wrong place.

    #48
  49. HighPlainsDrifter

    Mr. McGraw: I find it a little disturbing you challenged a poster for a source that was easily obtainable if you bothered to do a simple search on this newfangled invention called the “Google machine”. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. If not, at least two posters since that time have provided you with the source. Given what has happened since Obama was inaugurated, is it really that hard to believe that the goal of this administration is to raise the price of traditional sources of energy, including gasoline?

    #49
  50. BarksintheCountry

    We were told for eight years that high gasoline prices were the fault of Cheney and Halliburton. What happened to that explanation?

    #50
  51. Diogenes

    Gas prices won’t go down because O’bozo and his evil minions do everything they can to keep prices high. It is calculated to weaken and ultimately destroy America.

    #51
  52. Slim Chance

    Well, it is election year and ‘Big Earl’ wants to slant the vote so we will see prices hit just under $5.00 by August this year. And another sad fact, the USA’s biggest export in 2011 and 2010 is refined petroleum. We are exported our refine product and ‘Big Earl’ cries for more drilling. Folks, the price of ‘Earl’ ain’t going down and ‘Big Earl’ knows it.

    We are exporting our imported oil. Did I mention that?

    #52
  53. Ogre 1

    Ya’ll know why diamonds are so expensive? It’s not because they’re hard to find, dangerous to mine, and very, very rare… that’s just what the powers that be want the public to believe. The reason diamonds are so expensive is because De Beers controls the flow of diamonds to the market.

    The same can be said of the various oil producing/refining entities that exist.

    The price of gasoline and diesel fuel are the two driving factors in our economy. When they go up, our economy slows. Cheap fuel is crucial to the welfare of this nation and to our national security, and yet, we are allowing the oil companies and the speculators (who I heard this week are holding 90 MILLION barrels back.) to run this nation into the ground with high gasoline/oil prices.

    Those of you who are crying out about Obama blocking Keystone XL ignore the fact that Keystone was an EXPORT pipeline. All that oil was to be refined to diesel and then exported to China (Though Valero now says they never said that…but it was in their initial plan draft).

    Never mind the actual monetary costs, as high as they are you have to ask yourself, how much BLOOD is in your gasoline?

    This nation needs to embrace alternative fuel sources, The Brazil model is a place to start, but we also need to get away from the stop-gap of the electric car (which causes more environmental harm than good) and embrace the fuel cell, which runs on cheap, easily produced hydrdrogen (only the most abundant element in the universe! REALLY!).

    Someone mentioned that gas has gone from $1.64 to $4.00 under Obama… ARE THEY ON CRACK??? This is an example of a disease I’ve begun calling Conservative Alzheimer’s… Gas hit $4.40 a gallon on average towards the end of Bush’s term. Today Gasoline is still $1.00 cheaper than it was at the end of the Bush debacle. It steeply dropped immediately before Obama took office and then started climbing again. It has yet to hit $4.40 average (though who knows what it is running in California & Hawaii these days). So blaming Obama while exonerating Bush for the same sins is bumpkis.

    #53
  54. Dan X. McGraw

    HighPlainsDrifter, I didn’t mean it as a challenge, and I’m sorry if you took it that way. For the sake of all readers, it helps to give sources on quotes or other information. The reason is it allows more information to flow than what can be produced by the FuelFix staff or any other site. We’ve already tackled gas prices here: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2012/02/02/should-president-obama-get-the-blame-for-high-gas-prices/. The story applies to former President George Bush too.

    #54
  55. Dan X. McGraw

    Bill in Houston, thanks for the link. Gas prices didn’t go above the $2-mark until March 14, 2005 due to the relatively low oil prices. The bulk of gas prices is tied to the current oil price. When oil prices go down, the gas prices are eventually going to follow. Here is a link: http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_nus_w.htm

    #55
  56. Brian

    Sorry folks, but you can’t blame Obama on this one. Oil speculation and Mideast turmoil is to blame. Please come back to reality… You loonies are an embarrassment to rational thinking conservatives.

    #56
  57. howplayaisthatman

    Thank you Ogre 1! After reading all of these folks with most of these forgetful readers blaming Obama, it is embarrassing that we have forgotten what was occuring in he YEARS before Obama. It seems that everyone these readers are so desperate to blame him for all of the problems of the world that they would slit their own throats to satisfy their cravings for blood. I remember vividly struggling with the thought of gas going over $2.20 in 2001 and telling myself that I would walk to work before paying $3+ for gas in summer of 2007.

    Wake up people. Gas prices haven’t been firmly below $2 for any real stretch of time in over 10 years. We all know that gas prices dip in the season before presidential elections, but the closest we have had to relief at the gas pumps have been Fall of 2008 and for a short time this past fall. But with the exception of this past summer, gas has been no more than it was under Bush in his second term.

    But I can remember being in your shoes then too…I felt that Bush was trying to get all the under the table money that he could get by letting the oil companies make record profits quarter after quarter after quarter…and that only ended…during the election of Obama. Oooops…we forgot that already. I hope that the blood we shed as a country during Bushes terms added with the percentage increase in cost of living we took during this same period makes your personal bloodletting over our current conditions as a country worth it. Where were your voices when this problem started? I guess NOW it has finally come around to affect you too.

    #57