Predicting the future of gas prices

Jason Dennis
WTVM/WXTX - News Anchor/Reporter

Jun. 4, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The pain at the pump is not getting any better, with the average price of gas in Georgia just five cents short of $4 per gallon.

Some analysts predict gas prices will drop soon, while others shot as high as $6 a gallon. 

Columbus driver, Kasper Jefferson, said filling up is putting a big hurt on his wallet.

When asked if he ever thought he'd see $4 per gallon gas, Jefferson remarked, "No, I thought it'd be like $1.89 forever...not anymore, that was a long time ago."

"I'm hoping, like everyone else, there's going to be a bubble to this and it's going to break," said Gary Buschman, the General Manager of Fletcher Oil Co. in Columbus, which provides BP stations with gasoline.

He's puzzled by the rapid rise at the pumps, calling this uncharted territory. Even with being so close to it on the job, Buschman says he can't predict if gas will cost $5 a gallon later this year.

"If we stop buying less (fuel) and try to conserve, I think the prices may go down...but on the other hand, they're telling me China and India are picking up our slack (on oil demand)," Buschman added.

The good news is oil prices are dropping slightly, but it's not putting a dent in these numbers:

As of Tuesday, the average for regular unleaded gas in Alabama was $3.85 and in Columbus, GA, it's $3.91 - both of those more than 30 cents higher than a month ago. There's been an even larger jump with average gas prices nationally, now 2 cents shy of $4.

Charles Jones is scared it'll only get worse, telling us, "I listen to the predictions and I have my opinions. I feel like the oil companies are cashing in."

About oil suppliers, Buschman said, "Our markups are fixed, so obviously our percentage shrinks as the price goes up."

Buschman also said, credit card companies benefit the most - making about 8 cents per gallon.

As for predicting what's next, a strengthening dollar and fuel demand will have big impacts.  One local cab driver tell us, he'll have to park his car if it hits 4 dollars a gallon.