Missoula to see $4 Per Gallon Gas by Memorial Day says Analyst
Patrick DeHaan, Head Petroleum Analyst for Gas Buddy, told KGVO News on Friday that gas prices in Missoula will almost certainly top $4 per gallon by the Memorial Day weekend.
DeHaan said there will be no relief in 2022 from the conditions that affected prices in 2021.
“Well, it certainly could get fairly nasty,” began DeHaan. “If we thought 2021 was bad, well, you may be hoping for 2021 prices in 2022. We're starting to see not only Omicron cases slowly declining, but we are seeing more geopolitical issues that are pushing the price of oil up. We have now eclipsed the 2021 high oil price as it is about $87 a barrel as of earlier this week.”
As Missoula slogs through the winter, DeHaan says to be thankful for gas prices today; as he says we’ll wish we still had them this spring and summer.
“This is the calm before the storm,” he said. “Keep in mind gasoline consumption tends to be lower in January and February. My biggest concern for motorists is what lies ahead in March lasting through Memorial Day when we start to see demand go up. That’s when we start to transition to summer gasoline and when refineries start doing maintenance. We certainly could see areas of Montana reaching $4 dollars a gallon here later this spring.”
DeHaan said many of the countries the U.S. depends on for oil are experiencing unrest or even preparing for war.
“When you have an environment of unrest in several large oil producing countries, it generally means higher oil prices on the risk that's being added by this instability,” he said. “So unfortunately, we're getting kind of a double dose; first of recovery from Omicron and geopolitical worries, that are pushing oil prices higher.”
Asked about whether the Keystone oil pipeline could have helped keep prices lower, DeHaan said the problem isn’t enough pipelines, it’s not enough oil production.
“The problem is we don't have enough oil production,” he said. “Not that we don't have enough oil pipelines. In fact, as much as 50% of current pipeline capacity is not being utilized, because there's not enough oil to put in those pipelines. So pipelines don't produce oil, they merely ship oil. The problem is not with a lack of ability to ship oil. It's simply a lack of production.”
DeHaan then supplied a snapshot of current gas prices in Missoula.
“Looks like on average the price is about $3.42,” he said. “That's up three cents in the last week. The prices are now about $1.17 higher than they were a year ago. Of course, much of that is due to higher demand; the fact the economy' has reopened compared to where we were a year ago and unfortunately, it is possible that Missoula hits that $4 gallon average by Memorial Day weekend.”
The Gas Buddy.com website says the lowest price in Missoula is now $3.35 at Costco.
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