Houston-area gasoline prices jump back above $2

Houston-area fuel prices surged back above $2 a gallon entering the busy driving week for the holidays.

Gasoline prices are on track to increase the most in a December in six years because of rising oil prices in the aftermath of the Nov. 30 OPEC agreement to cut production beginning in January, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel prices nationwide.

“Some 39 states saw average gasoline prices rise last week, and this week may see a similar fate at the pump as retail gasoline prices continue to play a game of catch up to the three week rally in oil prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

The average price of a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline hit $2.01 in the Houston area on Monday after jumping by more than 3 cents in the past week, while the national average rose to $2.25. That’s 25 cents higher than a year ago, but just below December 2014 pricing.

Gasoline costs were above $3 a gallon in December of 2013, 2012 and 2011.

Oil was trading near $52 a barrel Monday morning in New York,  near its high for the year. Last December, was when the national average gas price fell under $2 per gallon for the first time since 2009.

Ffuel prices, however, should dip temporarily in January and February as refiners unload the last of their cheaper, winter-grade gasoline. Prices then typically rise in the spring and early summer.