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Have gas prices already peaked for 2013?

AAA predicts that fuel costs this year could be lower than last year.

By Douglas Newcomb Apr 2, 2013 1:21PM

After years of watching gas prices rise along with wildflowers each spring, drivers on average paid less at the pump in March in what AAA says is a historical anomaly.


“Motorists over the previous few years have come to expect record-high gas prices in the spring, which is why it is really surprising to see prices drop throughout the month of March,” Michael Green, a AAA spokesman, told MSN Autos. “Most Americans, fortunately, are paying less today than a month ago because of increased refinery production and lower oil prices.”


They are also paying less on average than they did a year ago, and the rise in gas prices is lower than it has been in decades. And in more good news for motorists planning road trips as the weather warms up, AAA predicts that the national average this spring should remain below last year’s price levels -- and that gas prices may have peaked for the year.


According to AAA, gas prices on average are now almost 30 cents per gallon less than a year ago, and the national average price of gasoline decreased during March for the first time in 10 years. As of April 1, the national average price per gallon of gas was $3.63, compared with $3.92 per gallon a year ago.


This represents a national average decline of 15 cents per gallon last month -- and the first month-over-month decline for March since 2003, when the average price decreased by one cent per gallon in March.


AAA also reported that the national average for gas prices crested at $3.79 per gallon Feb. 27, and has since dropped for 29 out of 33 days. While the national average price increased 34 cents per gallon through the end of the first quarter of 2013, last year gas prices increased nearly twice as much in the same period, with a rise of 65 cents per gallon.


This week, in fact, marks the one-year anniversary of the 2012 peak in gas prices, when the national average reached $3.94 per gallon on April 5 and 6. Gas prices peaked in 2011 at $3.98 per gallon on May 5.


Gas prices spiked at a four-month high in late January through February, mainly due to supply concerns, and in February refineries processed the lowest amount of crude oil in nearly two years because of maintenance and facility upgrades. The decline in gas prices in March followed refineries resuming normal operations after completion of seasonal maintenance.


AAA also pointed out that the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil remained relatively low for much of March. And it predicts that gas prices in April should remain lower than in recent years because of cheaper crude oil and increased refinery production.


AAA said it has no record of gas prices ever peaking in February. And while it’s too early to tell whether prices may have hit a high-water mark in the first half of the year, AAA is encouraged by the springtime decline and is forecasting lower fuel prices for the rest of 2013.


“Gasoline remains very expensive, but it should remain less pricey than last year’s peak of $3.94 per gallon,” Green said. “There is still the possibility that prices might rise in the coming weeks as a result of … the switchover to summer-blend gasoline. But any surge should be less painful than what motorists have paid in recent years.”


2012 vs. 2013 as price comparison. Graphic by AAA.


[Source: AAA]

89Comments
Apr 7, 2013 1:43AM
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Have gas prices peaked?  What a stupid questions! Oil companies have and will continue to rape the public and make billions.
Apr 7, 2013 12:33AM
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Everytime an article is done that states gas will be lower it shoots up past all time highs!!!!!!!! GO FIGURE!!!!!
Apr 7, 2013 6:00AM
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I recall reading not too long ago a little piece about how gas prices were destined to exceed $5 in the near term.  Would you guys please concede that you don't know where gas prices are going to be in six months and stop with the useless speculation?
Apr 7, 2013 3:38AM
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Nationalize our country's oil , and stop all speculation by traders on fuels and food !!!!
Apr 7, 2013 6:20AM
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They could charge a $1.50 for gas and still make incredible profits! Greed is behind everything Evil!
Apr 7, 2013 2:26AM
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This will not last. Either greed or some other lame excuse will be made to increase gas prices. Maybe more taxes added by our government. Some fabricated story by oil companies making false claims. The problem is we can not control any of this because we they people are so divided just as much as our government that we could never bring at protest together against it.
Apr 7, 2013 2:36AM
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The gas price will not go lower is what I'm reading...

anyone believe any differently?  I have some real estate in Florida I'd  like you to buy.

Apr 7, 2013 6:21AM
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EPA regulation will continue to insure high gas prices and insure the US oil production will drop again (NOTE: Several articles reported that the US in the near future will be an exporting oil business).  We will continue being robbed/raped by our so call protector of the environment.
Apr 7, 2013 7:02AM
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What I find comical is we keep on hearing gas prices are going to go down, but it never happens. When I see gas get down to around $3.20 a gallon or less then I'll be smiling, even that's to high. The government will give the oil corporations higher subsidies to make up for the drop in prices, the republicans will be crying crying. The poor poverty stricken SOB, do away with uncalled for speculation and subsides, we'll be just fine then.

Apr 7, 2013 7:06AM
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there is no need for high gasoline prices,if they stop shipping it overseas.gas stock has risen very high and they are making the bigest profit ever.the states & federal goverment should elimate all the taxes on gasoline,congress should  pass a law to do this now as it is hurting people from looking for employment. what ever bills congress passes will be passed on to their children,relatives,& friends, also the future generations of all citizens.
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