From the Mercury News: Gas prices surging beyond $4 a gallon — and they will go higher
Gasoline prices are rising at an almost unheard-of pace, and painfully so in California, where the cost for a fill-up now exceeds $4 a gallon in five cities and is approaching that dreaded mark in numerous others, including San Jose and Oakland.
The statewide average of $3.96 on Friday is 25 cents higher than just a month ago and 46 cents more than this time last year. … Some oil analysts predict $4.50 a gallon or more by Memorial Day on the West Coast and major cities across the United States such as Chicago, New York and Atlanta.
Americans have cut way back on driving in recent years. Total vehicle-miles traveled has stagnated since 2007. One big question is whether this is a temporary blip due to the downturn — unemployed people, after all, don’t commute — or evidence of a long-term structural shift.
Theories for a structural shift generally involve demographics: America’s swelling ranks of retirees don’t drive as much, while kids these days prefer Facebook to motoring around with friends. But there’s another possible factor: the torrid growth of online shopping. Phil Izzo has the numbers, which are striking.
And below is a graph of gasoline prices. Gasoline prices bottomed in December and have been moving up again. Note: The graph below shows oil prices for WTI; gasoline prices in most of the U.S. are impacted more by Brent prices.
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