Don’t look for any break soon from gas prices that jumped nearly twenty cents in the last month. Crude oil prices went from 18 dollars a barrel to 26 today, just where we were last year. And like last year, DNR fuel-price analyst David Downing says you’re likely to see prices at the pump going up and up and up. Last week our demand was nearly 9-million barrels a day, heavy demand like last June, which means inventory’s tight and any problem in the supply chain will cause price spikes. Downing says during the past year, inventories ran 20-million barrels over demand, a nice “cushion” that kept prices low, but that’s dwindled to eight or nine million nationally. Our cushion’s shrinking and demand is up five percent over this time last year. We’d been going up two-percent a year, but now it’s five percent, creating a ten-billion-gallon deficit per day — that means not building up any extra inventory for summer.
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