Chicago Gas Prices Hit Record High For January
Record Prices Predicted For City Gas Pumps This Spring
Chicago gas prices ended the month at $3.60 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline for Janaury according to ChicagoGasPrices.com. That’s 27 cents higher than January 2011 and an all time high for the month according Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst for the gas price tracking website’s parent site, GasBuddy.com. Nationally, gas prices are 32 cents per gallon higher than last year.
“Gas prices are higher than they’ve ever been before for this time of year,” says DeHaan. “Last year we had a record January too. But this year we’re blowing the record out of the water.”
AAA, which also tracks gas prices, is saying the same thing, with their Fuel Gauge Report reporting an average gas price of $3.69 per gallon of regular unleaded for the month of January.
“Gas prices have had a volatile start to the year, mainly due to high oil prices and tempered by very sluggish demand,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA Chicago.
DeHaan adds rising international demand and subsequent rising petroleum exports along with the unstable situation in Iran are also having their impact on gas prices.
But the bad news is that higher, most likely wallet breaking fuel prices are in Chicago’s future.
“It’s going to be lousy,” says DeHaan. “In our forecast I essentially predict gas prices in Chicago could be at $4.50 to $4.95 per gallon.”
Based on this January’s record highs and the average annual price increase between now and June when area oil refineries have to switch over to federally mandated, and much more expensive reformulated summer gas blend, drivers will see gas prices well above last year’s record pump price of $4.52 per gallon.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see record prices,” says DeHaan. “We’ll see prices well into the $4 range. The biggest increases we’ll see in April and May.”
Adding insult to injury, DeHaan believes Chicago may be one of the most expensive cities in the nation to buy fuel by Memorial Day.
“I do believe Chicago will be very close to the top as far as average gas prices come May,” says DeHaan.
In the meantime drivers, start saving pennies. You’re going to need it.