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Gas prices reached record-high average in 2012

Drivers may find relief in 2013 as demand settles, but crude-oil prices remain high and unpredictable.

By Clifford Atiyeh Jan 14, 2013 6:40AM
Refinery outages and high crude-oil prices drove gasoline prices to a record average of $3.62 per gallon in 2012, despite some of the lowest demand in at least 30 years.

Last year, gasoline prices were nine cents higher than in 2011 and 35 cents higher than in 2008, the first year prices averaged more than $3, according to the Energy Information Administration.

It was the second year in a row that average gas prices stayed above $3 during every week. As of Sunday, only eight states posted average prices below $3 per gallon, according to AAA. Diesel reached a record average of $3.97 per gallon.

As usual, drivers in the Rockies and Gulf regions paid the least, at $3.61 and $3.48 per gallon, respectively. Drivers along the West and East Coasts saw an average of $3.98 and $3.70. Of 10 major cities ranked by the EIA, prices in San Francisco and Los Angeles fluctuated by at least $1.15 throughout the year, compared with 62 cents in Boston and New York.

The EIA blamed unexpected refinery outages -- on the West Coast during the winter and on the East Coast during fall -- along with routine shutdowns as refineries in the Midwest switched from winter- to summer-grade gasoline. Of course, superstorm Sandy wasn't any help, nor were new oil sanctions on Iran. Crude oil made up two-thirds of the price of gasoline, according to the EIA.

Several factors were promising, but did little to quell an overall volatile oil market. Crude-oil prices finished the year at less than $92 per barrel and reached more than $108 over the winter, but never came near July 2008 when prices surged to more than $145. Drivers also continued to cut their gasoline purchases. As of October, the latest data available, retail sales were down 44 percent since the same month in 1983.

According to AAA, gas prices should peak at lower levels this year -- up to $3.80 versus $3.94 in 2012, the association said -- if production continues and major storms pass over without serious damage.

Despite the positive implications, lower gasoline demand and fewer vehicle miles traveled have the federal government hot and bothered. Last week, the Government Accountability Office suggested implementing a mileage tax to cover a shortfall in highway funds and gas-tax revenues. For the time being, it's just talk.

[Source: EIA, AAA; Photo: AP/NBCNEews.com]

61Comments
Jan 14, 2013 8:52AM
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As long as wallstreet speculates on fuel it will be out of control...... Nothing to do with supply and demand all to do with GREED
Jan 14, 2013 9:03AM
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there is plenty of gas ,the US oil company's actually exported more gas then they imported  last year .mostly gas prices have risen due to the stock market speculation!

Jan 14, 2013 9:05AM
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Don't know if anyone noticed that as the elections got near the prices dropped, but oh, now that they are over, back up they go.
Jan 14, 2013 8:44AM
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Yeah, the prices may hae hit a record high, yet I wonder if the oil companies profits for just a few were also high on the record charts

 

Gas price mainpulation has not just effected a poor economy but also many businesses that rely on travel. Why should the prices go up significantly during the summer months? Such has severe negative effects tourism and the town, city, states dollars of relation.

 

And when these Companies distribute huge bonueses to the Board, the CEO CFU COO and more, then confirms the manipulation of price for profits only!

 

Yet I am forced to wonder how and when profits overcame service! 

 

 

Jan 14, 2013 8:51AM
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I was listening to the news while driving to appointments.  They had a segment on how

gas prices where down and would continue to go down into 2013.  I looked at the sign

on the lowest priced station in town Arco.  They had just jumped their price from $3.29

to $3.49 over night.  All other stations followed that day or the next.  So now we are a

low of $3.49 many at $3.69 and some at $3.89.  This is all for the cheapest unleaded.

Christmas must be over, they didn't listen to the news and decided it was time to hose

the consumer again.

Jan 14, 2013 9:12AM
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And they'll keep going up until the little people, like me, can no longer afford to go to work. My heart goes out to those with families who used to be able to take a vacation in the car and can no longer afford to even have a staycation. The greed in this country is out of control and I pray that the SOBs doing this to us will rot in Hades. My husband and I carpool, we lump all of our chores together into one trip a week, we only go to work, grocery store/pharmacy and doctors. I sit in the waiting room for his appointments, he sits there for mine. We schedule them after work so we don't have to go too far out of our normal route. Gone are the days we could go for a drive to visit surrounding towns on the weekends, sometimes just a short get-away with an overnight. Those will not happen anymore. I hope that those rolling in the profits are happy.
Jan 14, 2013 9:00AM
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Al Gore made sure to get his share of the oil profits.
Jan 14, 2013 9:09AM
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Wow, what a surprise.  Obama and the Democrats declared when Obama was first elected that they wanted prices over $5 per gallon, and they've continued to work their way towards it.

 

And all you Libs/Dems/Progs whined so mightily when prices spiked under the Bush administration.  What a bunch of gullible morons.  You got exactly what you asked for.

 

How's all that "hopey-changey" garbage working out for you all?

Jan 14, 2013 8:36AM
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Where did they get these prices?  I have regularly paid over $4 and as high as $4.60 for diesel over the last several years.  In fact, the price of diesel fuel is keeping my husband and I home.  We live on the coast of Washington State.
Jan 14, 2013 9:31AM
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I find it interesting, any time gas prices go up and there is a Republican in the White House, he always gets the blame, but when a Democrat is in the White House, everything else is blamed.  Isn't this a campaign promise fulfilled?   Didn't Obama clearly state he would make energy prices "skyrocket"?  Didn't Obama appoint an Energy Secretary who has publicly talked about how $10 gas prices would be good for America?  Yet the media doesn't even go there.  No finger pointing at all.  And the media executives sit around the table wondering why the public doesn't trust them!!
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