Gas prices again on the rise

In the first full week of 2012, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Georgia jumped 14 cents to $3.35. The national average rose to $3.37.

 

 

After a holiday dip, gasoline prices are again on the rise.

In the first full week of 2012, the national average rose 10 cents, to $3.37 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

During that same period, the average price in Georgia jumped 14 cents to $3.35, and South Carolina’s price climbed 13 cents to $3.22.

“We’re probably going to see oil prices inch up again this week,” said AAA spokeswoman Jessica Brady.

At Christmas, prices had dropped nearly 20 cents from the previous month and were expected to continue falling throughout the holiday travel season.

Brady said consumers are already starting to voice concerns that prices will shoot to $4 a gallon by spring or summer, but she says it’s hard to predict prices three or more months in advance.

“It’s not too atypical to see prices rise the first week of the new year,” Brady said.

Positive employment numbers coupled with the concerns that Iran will block oil exports out of the Middle East contributed to oil selling at $101.56 a barrel Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That’s $2.73 more than the previous week.

One factor that could contribute to a future decrease in prices is the speculation that Europe will enter a recession that could stifle oil demand.

According to the Department of Energy, U.S. gasoline demand is on the decline, with inventories rising by 2.5 million barrels to 220.0 million the last week of December.

“I think in the short term we’re probably going to see oil prices inch up a bit this week, and depending on where oil trades for the remainder of the week will determine whether prices continue to increase or decrease,” Brady said.

PRICES FOR UNLEADED

CURRENT LAST WEEK LAST MONTH LAST YEAR

Georgia $3.345 $3.206 $3.221 $3.007

S. Carolina $3.220 $3.091 $3.087 $2.925

U.S. $3.374 $3.279 $3.285 $3.088

 

Source: AAA

OIL PRICES

Oil prices declined Monday as concerns faded over Iran’s ability to restrict world oil supplies. Here’s how energy contracts traded.

ON THE NEW YORK MERCANTILE EXCHANGE:

• Benchmark crude fell 25 cents to $101.31 per barrel.

• Gasoline rose less than a penny to $2.7590 a gallon.

• Heating oil rose less than a cent to finish at $3.0730 a gallon.

• Natural gas fell 5 cents to $3.0110 per 1,000 cubic feet.

 

ON THE ICE FUTURES EXCHANGE IN LONDON:

• Brent crude fell 61 cents to finish the day at $112.45 per barrel.

– Associated Press

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