Gas prices will climb following the Saudi attacks

American drivers have gotten used to relatively low gasoline prices. But that will probably change. Crude oil prices are rising after...

Posted: Sep 16, 2019 8:12 PM

American drivers have gotten used to relatively low gasoline prices. But that will probably change. Crude oil prices are rising after attacks on oil fields in Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

Experts say consumers may begin to notice higher prices soon, but the increases may be minimal. Gas prices probably won't climb high enough to substantially hurt the US economy.

The current average price for a gallon of gas nationwide is $2.56, according to AAA.

That's down from nearly $2.64 a month ago, $2.85 during the same time last year and the most recent peak of near $3 a gallon from May 2018, AAA said.

Prices typically peak for the year during the summer, when people tend to drive more, and head lower toward the end of the year.

Jeanette Casselano, a spokesperson for AAA, said that might not happen this year. The sudden jump in oil prices above $60 a barrel means gas prices are expected to start rising within a few days, she said. How high they go and how long they remain elevated will depend a lot on how quickly Saudi Arabia is able to get production back on line.

Spike in gas prices at end of year is uncommon

Any increase in gas prices at this time of the year is relatively uncommon, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, a firm that has an app that helps people track gas prices at individual stations in real time.

DeHaan notes that most gas stations are beginning to transition to a winter blend of gasoline, which is cheaper to produce and costs less at the pump. But because of the attack on Saudi oil assets, DeHaan estimates that gas prices could climb anywhere from 10 cents to 25 cents a gallon over the next few weeks. He expects many gas stations would spread out any price hikes over a period of time — a couple of pennies per day for about two weeks — so it doesn't come as a sudden surprise to consumers.

"This is not something that will be swift," DeHaan predicts.

The impact from damaged Saudi infrastructure may not hurt the broader economy as much because the United States is no longer as dependent on oil from Saudi Arabia as it once was, in part because of the American shale boom.

In the first half of this year, the United States imported less than half the amount of barrels each day from Saudi Arabia that it did at the same time two years ago, according to AAA's Casselano, citing data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Asian economies are likely more exposed to a long-term supply disruption because Asia is more reliant on Saudi oil exports, noted CFRA analyst Stewart Glickman. Glickman added that US gas price hikes might be tempered if President Donald Trump winds up releasing oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Trump said this weekend he would open the SPR.

So far, oil prices — and by extension gas prices — remain at reasonable levels.

Gas prices still well below peak pain points

DeHaan said that the spike in oil prices will probably hurt big airlines that are huge buyers of jet fuel — and airline stocks took a bigger tumble than the broader market Monday. But that probably won't put a dent in consumers' wallets.

He does not think higher gas prices will cause consumers to stop buying as many big SUVs and trucks over smaller sedans — or for automakers to suddenly start making more smaller, fuel efficient cars for that matter.

Casselano of AAA added that consumer behavior hasn't tended to change much until gas prices are in a range of $3.25 to $3.50 a gallon. We're still well below that.

"People will notice the spike. But prices have to be a lot higher before people start to make some lifestyle changes like running fewer errands and going out to shop less," she said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 666516

Reported Deaths: 12726
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion912711659
Lake48687890
Allen36102644
Hamilton32445398
St. Joseph30306514
Elkhart25510420
Vanderburgh21326382
Tippecanoe20220205
Johnson16466363
Porter16068281
Hendricks15944302
Clark12060182
Madison11799323
Vigo11685234
Monroe10419164
Delaware9891179
LaPorte9831199
Howard9112201
Kosciusko8597111
Bartholomew7522147
Hancock7462134
Warrick7451153
Floyd7263173
Wayne6661192
Grant6462158
Boone616691
Morgan6129128
Dubois5936112
Dearborn551270
Cass5485100
Marshall5451105
Henry542995
Noble513178
Jackson465567
Shelby463391
Lawrence4195113
Gibson405185
Harrison403265
Clinton397553
Montgomery391684
DeKalb387478
Miami358263
Knox357885
Whitley351238
Huntington349477
Steuben340055
Putnam333960
Wabash333176
Ripley327962
Adams325449
Jasper319143
White298152
Jefferson296274
Daviess285996
Fayette272756
Decatur271688
Greene262680
Posey261432
Wells259075
Scott251850
LaGrange242470
Clay241644
Randolph226077
Spencer219430
Jennings216744
Washington213027
Sullivan203739
Fountain202842
Starke189951
Owen183654
Fulton179737
Jay178728
Carroll176919
Perry174036
Orange171451
Rush165622
Vermillion161543
Franklin159935
Tipton149541
Parke140216
Pike128533
Blackford120627
Pulaski107644
Newton96832
Brown95340
Benton92413
Crawford92213
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54211
Unassigned0427

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 977736

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1129551251
Cuyahoga968561881
Hamilton738821067
Montgomery47506923
Summit40668831
Butler35827531
Lucas35779720
Stark29581826
Warren22574275
Lorain22190424
Mahoning19578551
Lake18545332
Clermont18519205
Delaware16597121
Licking15089194
Fairfield14644188
Trumbull14423424
Greene13659221
Medina13517237
Clark12376256
Wood11656170
Portage11127172
Allen10820216
Richland10372188
Miami10059194
Muskingum8238117
Columbiana8168210
Pickaway8094111
Tuscarawas8075232
Marion8020127
Wayne7933199
Erie6961146
Ross6173132
Geauga6114142
Hancock6030121
Scioto600488
Ashtabula5998154
Lawrence527586
Union516341
Darke5052116
Belmont4999137
Huron4859108
Jefferson4836137
Sandusky4798112
Washington474396
Seneca4734111
Athens466149
Mercer459781
Auglaize456582
Shelby442679
Knox4054105
Putnam400593
Madison395455
Fulton383161
Ashland382683
Brown374852
Defiance373788
Crawford360098
Logan357373
Preble353987
Clinton342455
Highland328451
Ottawa325371
Williams303568
Jackson291846
Champaign290949
Guernsey288845
Perry271148
Fayette269943
Morrow261437
Henry247861
Hardin247359
Holmes244497
Coshocton240756
Van Wert230157
Gallia223938
Adams218239
Pike217228
Wyandot212450
Hocking195054
Carroll182143
Paulding161034
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117237
Morgan102120
Harrison100731
Vinton76613
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 25°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 27°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
35° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 35°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 23°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 23°
Warmer, breezy on Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events