Policies aside, gas prices turn a corner

April 11, 2012 at 9:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 11 (UPI) -- The price of gasoline may have begun a seasonal decline that has very little to do with politics despite the attention it gets from politicians, experts say.

"Traditionally, every spring we see prices rise like this. They tend to peak in late spring," said Patrick DeHaan, a senior industry analyst at gasbuddy.com.

Some experts said that peak may have come and gone as of last Friday, when the national average price at the pump hit $3.94 per gallon, the Washington newspaper The Hill reported Wednesday.

"What this could potentially mean for motorists is that prices could take a bit of a breather or they might fall," DeHaan said.

The director of data and pricing at Oil Price Information Service Ben Brockwell also noted the recent price turnaround.

Brockwell had predicted the national average price would reach $4 per gallon Tuesday. But given the annual pattern of a peak in the late spring, "It's reasonable to think that prices have peaked for the summer," he said.

He also warned that one bump in the road could send prices higher. "The reality is, we're only one event from prices going back up," he said.

That means prices could slide right up to November, which would give President Obama a chance to take credit for his energy policies, which Republicans denounce as too restrictive.

The president has rebuffed Republicans, calling his approach an "all-of-the-above" policy that includes expanded drilling, aiming high on fuel efficiency and promoting alternative energy, The Hill said.

On the other hand, "It absolutely has nothing to do with politics, but the first week of November is election week," said Tom Kloza, chief industry analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.

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