Pretty much as soon as you start to get used to gas prices that are low, low, low – they start to rise. And it looks like the long slide of oil and gasoline prices has bottomed out and started to bounce.
Ah, well. Maybe you could get used to that?
And of course, there’s the question of how high they are going to be bouncing?
On one hand, you should be accustomed to the pattern. If anything, it’s a bit overdue. February is usually a month when the winter gas prices hit their lows and begin a very long, slow trajectory toward their seasonal highs in late spring – often right around Memorial Day when you are sure to be filling multiple tanks for your vacation drive.
And that didn’t happen in 2016, according to AAA.
“This was the first time in 10 years that gas prices finished the month of February lower than they started,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for the auto group. “Historically, gas prices have risen 30 to 40 cents during February, but this year was different, due to low oil prices and record high supplies of oil and gasoline.”
Gasoline, one of those basically non-negotiable expenses, often — pardon the pun — drive consumer sentiment. Lower prices mean more disposable income for other things.
Motorists are saving more than 60 cents a gallon compared to this time last year, according to AAA.
Only here’s the thing: delayed, the increase may be, but it cannot be denied.
The price of oil has been up and so are gas prices.
“Gas prices rise in March because more Americans are beginning to take spring road trips,” Jenkins said. “This creates increased demand for gasoline at a time when refineries are putting-out less fuel, due to seasonal maintenance. Demand is now beginning to increase, as are prices at the pump. However, prices are unlikely to surge as supplies remain abundant.”
During the past five years, gas prices in March rose an average of 8 cents nationwide and 4 cents in Georgia, AAA said. During the past 15 years, March gas prices increased an average of 12 cents nationally and 11 cents in Georgia.
Ah, but the good news is that we are starting from a base that is way, way, way lower than in the recent past: The average price of gas for the month of March covering the past five years was $3.40 a gallon nationally and $3.28 in Georgia. Going back 15 years, the average for
March averaged $2.47 a gallon nationally and $2.36 in Georgia.
The average price in Georgia is now $1.71 a gallon, according to AAA. And a number of stations are selling it for less than $1.50 a gallon.