Gas Prices in Late Summer Climb

While the national average price of gasoline is nowhere near the record highs of last summer, it has been on a bit of a climb lately, jumping about ten cents over the past week, and is now at $2.63 per gallon.

At this time last year the price of gasoline was $3.84 per gallon — nearly 50% higher — so today’s average price really isn’t all that bad, comparatively speaking.

However, the glass-half-empty part of me would also like to point out that the price of gas is still $1 higher than the lows hit back in January of this year.  With the economy still kind of sluggish and the ranks of unemployed growing, even a slight increase in the price we pay at the pump can make a dent in our finances.

The state with the lowest average price is South Carolina, with an average price of $2.38 per gallon.  There are currently eight states with an average gas price below $2.50 per gallon.

The state with the highest average price is Hawaii, with an average price of $3.11 per gallon.  Hawaii, Alaska and California are the only states with an average gas price above $3 per gallon.

It will be interesting to see where the price of gas goes from here.  A lot of it will be tied to what people feel will happen with the economy.  If economic data continues to show that the economy is bottoming, if not improving, the price of gas will likely continue to climb higher, although probably not by much.  However, if data comes out and shows that things are actually getting worse with the economy, the price of gas will head back down.

Comments

  1. I tend to agree with that analysis Brian. Here is Oregon we are pretty high, but what’s worse are the local (city and municipal) taxes in certain areas. The gas station most prefer here in town has a 2.97 price. I drive a ways out of town and paid 2.69. Our city taxes gas just about every year and I can’t help but thinking they are going to run some folks out of business if this keeps up. I already go elsewhere.

  2. My concern is that the price per barrel is now down to one third of what it was a year ago. All of these analysts said that the gas prices are driven by the price per barrel and how much is produced. Well, they are still producing the same amount and the price per barrell is down, why are we only paying a dollar less. Shouldn’t we be paying one third of what we were a year ago? Even with county and state taxes something is pretty fishy.

    I think we need to push our government into talks with Raser… the company that is making hydrogen powered Hummer’s go 100+ miles to the gallon.

    Obama knew he couldn’t force a fuel price change, so he did the next best thing. Cash for clunkers. The problem is I paid way more for my SUV than he is offering as a paltry trade in amount. I paid $53k verses the $4 or $5k they are giving for trade in. This should have been more thought out and tiered a little differently so that at least those of us with big expensive SUV’s could actually afford to purchase a gas sipper with roughly the same room and not lose $45k in the interim.

    Here is an interesting thought. Everyone proclaims its our cars that are polluting and causing these issue’s. Most vehicles manufactured within the last 20years even when not in perfect tune do not pollute that much. Did you know that big rigs, tractors, 18 wheelers, dump trucks, busses and the like… none of them have to be tested or adhere to environmental pollution policies? That means all you Vegans, vegetarians, tree huggers and the like are barking up the wrong tree. Why not get pissed at peterbuilt, mack, or freightliner? One semi truck releases as much pollution as 50 cars, a city bus does about the same. Why is it everyone is okay with that and not with personal vehicles? Food for thought, from another part of Oregon.

  3. Anyone who pays 53k for a shitty car is a moron. This pretty much negates anything else you have to say here… along with your lack of understanding for the trade in value of a *used* car.

    And yes, your SUV *is* a shitty car. It was never worth 53k, and it certainly isn’t worth 53k now that it’s used.

    I drive a toyota wagon from 1995. It has a v6 engine and more cargo space than just about any SUV on the road, and most pickup trucks. I regularly surprise people driving newer/fancier cars on the road–but it’s too fuel efficient to qualify for the trade in program, at 25+ mpg. Your car, I’m guessing from the price, is either an Escalade or a Hummer.

    The reason environmentalists aren’t as pissed at freight trucks is because they actually serve a useful purpose to society. Yours doesn’t, since a car with a design that isn’t so fundamentally flawed (cough cough, crappier version of a minivan) can do everything yours does, and better. Oh, and people don’t take their semis offroading–which is ALSO bad for the environment.

  4. Forgot to add: “don’t pollute much?” Basic chemistry shows that every pound of gasoline burned puts 2 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (the carbon combines with the oxygen, thus the weird numbers for the weight, plus the longer carbon chain in gas than in CO2). Automobile emissions account for about a 3rd (very roughly) of the CO2 emissions in this country, so yes, the impact is significant (although buildings are much worse). Cars these days may run “cleaner,” without the lead emissions and particulates of Ye Olde Days, but global warming is arguably a much more important environmental problem.

    It’s true that some people just don’t “believe” in human directed climate change, which is unfortunate, because the scientific method begs to differ.

    When considering fuel efficiency, it’s a good rule of thumb to measure it not just on efficiency per vehicle but per person/tons of cargo that are actually being transported. That’s why semis and city buses come out better than personal vehicles, and what can make carpooling environmentally sustainable–even in an SUV. As for fishy prices, demand for gasoline tends to be a lot less elastic compared to many other goods, which could possibly explain the bad smell.

  5. Anon:

    Treehuggers aren’t ticked at Semis simply because they can’t try to extract some punitive damages out of the operators. They view SUVs as a luxury and those who drive them as “rich”. Therefore, they can get some sort of tax or fee from them. Many see SUVs just as you do, a vehicle with no “purpose”. Fact is, most SUVs are driven for safety something your 95 Toyota isn’t probably as strong in. As far as AGW, the ENTIRE theory is a load of crap with the “evidence” skewed so as to prove the theory rather than allowing the evidence to modify the theory. It is the latest in a long line of keynote issues put forth to drive a change in societal evolution. Besides, if you look at human development and societal advancement in a serious manner it can be plainly seen that a warmer environment is much more advantageous then a cooler environment.

    The real problem with gas prices is how much they have gone up since Obama took office. roughly a dollar a gallon for no real reason. Oh, and gas at 4 bucks a gallon ONLY occurred after DEMS were elected into control of Congress and VOWED to eliminate domestic production. Check the timelines and you see a disturbing trend.

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