No, Seriously: When Will Gas Prices Drop?

September 14, 2012 12:00 AM

No, Seriously: When Will Gas Prices Drop?

" A month ago, Americans paid an average of $3.69 for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline. Today, we’re paying $3.84.

What gives? Isn’t this the time of year when gas prices are supposed to drop — when companies stop manufacturing expensive summer-blend fuel and transition to more affordable winter blend?

Ordinarily, yes, but this year, we’ve hit a couple of speed bumps.

The biggest of those bumps was Hurricane Isaac. On the Saffir-Simpson scale, Isaac was a fairly minor storm, far less powerful than monster hurricanes like Katrina or — for those of a certain age — Camille.

However, Isaac did its best to disrupt oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, which made analysts worry.

And that’s where the problem lies, because ultimately, analysts’ fears and enthusiasm hold far more sway over oil and gas prices than they should. After all, the Gulf of Mexico isn’t the only place where oil is extracted, and Southern states like Louisiana and Mississippi aren’t the only places where it’s refined. But when analysts see a giant, swirling, meteorological mass in the Gulf, they often panic, and the rest of us pay for it at the pump "

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