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Gas prices may be ready to level off

Increases have been steady since early July

POSTED: July 23, 2013 12:41 a.m.

Gas prices have been rising since early July, but the worst may be behind us.

Since last Monday, the retail price for regular unleaded gasoline in Georgia has risen 4 cents, but analysts for the gas price website GasBuddy.com think prices may stabilize later this week.

“I don’t believe the big increase that we have seen over the last few weeks is necessarily a sign of what’s to come for the foreseeable future,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com. “Prices may, toward the latter half of the week, actually start to stabilize and in some areas they may decline ever so slightly.”

Gas prices in Georgia have been steadily increasing since July 8 and were an average $3.53 per gallon on Monday, almost 10 cents higher than a month ago. On the same day last year, the average cost was about 17 cents cheaper at $3.36 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.com statistics.

There are many contributing factors to gasoline price fluctuations, but DeHaan attributes the recent rally to a significant decrease in the national supply of crude oil and an increased demand for gasoline.

Commercial crude oil inventories in the U.S. decreased by 6.9 million barrels during the week of July 12 and by a total of 27.1 million barrels between June 21 and July 12, according to weekly reports by the Energy Information Administration.

Outside factors, such as the recent turmoil in Egypt, are behind the decline in supply, and demand has risen as more motorists take to the road for summer vacations, DeHaan said.

The good news is that after such a steep increase, gas prices may begin to slow their increase and contract.

“Gas prices are always quite volatile and on the move, but I would expect this week to be a little bit quieter,” DeHaan said. “It could last a week, maybe two, but with new situations developing virtually every day, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly how long it will last.”


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