Gasoline prices continue to slowly rise

Gasoline costs continue to rise nationwide as the greater Houston average inches back up near $2 a gallon.

Prices at the pump jumped by nearly 2 cents a gallon in the past week locally — 3 cents nationally — as fuel price hikes continue to trail the surge in oil prices after OPEC agreed to curtail production last week.

The Houston-area average is now $1.97 a gallon and the national average is $2.21 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel pricing. That’s below prices in most years, but still nearly 20 cents higher than abnormally low prices a year ago. Gasoline prices have stayed below an average of $2 a gallon in the Houston area since a brief blip in mid-October.

Despite oil pricing slowly rising because of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some other non-OPEC nations like Russia agreeing to cut back oil production next year, there’s still an oversupply of fuel sitting in storage across the U.S. That’s continuing to keep gas pricing from rising too much.

“Retail gasoline prices across the country appear to have hit a plateau and that’s not surprising given the mix of potentially upward and downward forces working simultaneously on crude oil prices,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

“The (OPEC) promises for next year do little to change the robust global supply we have today,”  he added, noting that OPEC and Russian both of “old habits” of cheating a bit on oil production agreements.