Expert: Economy, politics triggering rising gas prices at pumps

February 1, 2013 8:05:21 PM PST
As you drive around this weekend, you may notice something surprising at gas stations. Gas prices are rising significantly. In fact, the price of a gallon of regular is 20 cents more than it was a month ago.

In the Houston area area, the price per gallon went up overnight. At one station, it went up by a dime to $3.35. And we're not even close to spring break, when gasoline prices traditionally rise.

When the Dow closed above 14,000 Friday, it took oil prices along for the ride. West Texas Intermediate closed at near $98 a barrel, taking what you pay for gasoline at the pump along with it.

In the Houston market, it will add a few more cents to what drivers also noticed in the past few weeks.

And for Thomas Nieto and his work truck that's older than he is, that's not chump change. His gas bill is now around $300 a week.

"I do a lot of running back and forth," he said.

Until recently, gasoline demand has been flat with plenty of oil in reserve. Supply and demand would dictate lower prices, but that's tempered by an improving economy and political tension in the Middle East.

"In which the price of crude absent those two other factors would be lower than it's been," said Bob Tippee with the Oil & Gas Journal.

Gasoline is said to be at its highest price ever for this time of year, well before the spring driving season. So drivers are once readjusting budgets to compensate or considering a more fuel-efficient ride.

Christina Williams recently rented a compact car.

"It was like I was driving forever and I didn't really have to fill up, so yeah, I'm in the market," she said.

The price per gallon is expected to be a few cents more by the end of the weekend.

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