Prepare for gasoline prices to rise again in the spring. A gallon of fuel could rally above $4, according to GasBuddy oil analyst Patrick De Haan.
“It’s a question of when, not if. I think something like this could happen by April, maybe earlier,” De Haan said.
“I think motorists are going to start getting more rushed at the end of February. The next three weeks could be a bit mixed,” he said.
De Haan says planned outages at refineries are one of the reasons for the price hike.
“We have quite a significant amount of refinery rotations that are going to start here in the next two weeks. That’s going to lead to a decrease in gasoline supply,” he said.
It also points to the end of lockdowns in China, the biggest energy consumer, as a catalyst for increased demand.
“With China reopening, you can’t stress that enough,” he said.
“The US economy – when we reopened saw a level of pent-up demand,” De Haan added. “The same would apply in China. This should chart our course for the next 3-6 weeks.”
The national retail gasoline average is $3.41 a gallon, down from $3.10 a month ago, according to AAA.
On Wednesday, Brent crude (BZ=F) was trading just above $86 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate (CL=F) was trading just above $80 a barrel.
Ines is a senior economics reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre
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