By Erin Mulvaney
Houston Chronicle Staff Writer
If you Google $5 gas, you are bound to find millions of articles predicting historic gas prices this summer, but a gasoline analyst says you shouldn’t believe those predictions.
Tom Kloza, chief analyst with Oil Price Information Service, noticed the numerous $5 gasoline predictions in the media recently, but he said $5 gasoline prices aren’t likely to take a hold nationwide. He said the experts predicting $5 gas aren’t any more accurate than famous predictor Nostradamus in the 16th century.
“Many of the stories quote ‘experts’ who give the skinny or the scoop on why this will be the year that Americans need Lincoln’s picture on the legal tender necessary to purchase a gallon of unleaded fuel,” Kloza wrote in an email. “Let me make myself perfectly clear. This is nonsense.”
So what are the chances of $5 gas this summer?
“The chances of nationwide gasoline averages approaching $5 gal are about as good as having the Spice Girls perform a tribute to Demi Moore at the Oscars,” Kloza wrote.
Former Shell executive John Hofmeister has been beating the $5-per-gallon drum for more than a year. Hofmeister said gas prices are likely to rise because of rising tensions with Iran, refineries closing in the northeast and ongoing fallout from the Gulf of Mexico moratorium.
Hofmeister said the current administration policies have also caused gas prices to rise, and those policies are unlikely to change in time to ward off $5 gas.
Kloza provided a chart showing the gas prices since 2000, and he said it shows while $5 is unlikely.
Year Valentine’s Day Price July 4th Price
2000 $1.36 gal $1.65 gal
2001 $1.49 gal $1.49 gal
2002 $1.21 gal $1.40 gal
2003 $1.64 gal $1.49 gal
2004 $1.64 gal $1.89 gal
2005 $1.89 gal $2.27 gal
2006 $2.29 gal $2.93 gal
2007 $2.23 gal $2.95 gal
2008 $2.98 gal $4.10 gal
2009 $1.97 gal $2.62 gal
2010 $2.62 gal $2.74 gal
2011 $3.13 gal $3.57 gal
2012 $3.51 gal ???
The chart shows that a bubbling and re-bubbling of gas prices, similar to those seen in the housing market in the late 20th century and early 21st century, Kloza wrote.
The chart also shows that record-high gasoline prices in 2008 rose 34 percent between Valentine’s Day and the July 4th weekend. Kloza added:
The Giants also won the Super Bowl in that year, and perhaps that will be the talisman that trumps macroeconomics, consumer fatigue, demand destruction, and healthy global supply of gasoline. If Giant’s Super Bowl victories are a harbinger and a similar spike is in store, the arithmetic adds up to an average gasoline price of $4.70 gal on July 4, 2012.
So you shouldn’t worry too much about $5 gas or believe everything you read on the internet, Kloza writes.