Gas prices have gone up since Thanksgiving, according to the latest fuel-price survey by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. D-N-R fuel-price analyst Jennifer Moehlman isn’t surprised, as she says it’s typical for gasoline prices to “bottom out” between Columbus Day and Veterans day, and then start back up. From now through the start of the new year she expects more volatility — prices going up and down.
Don’t expect much “down” in that pattern in the near future. Moehlman says “I would be surprised if we saw gasoline prices drop below two dollars a gallon.” She says we may see them dip a little leading up to Christmas but then rise again going into January. She says one reason will be new sulfur specifications for gasoline, which will lead to tighter supplies and that in turn will mean higher prices.
New federal rules will make refiners take out more sulfur, which will mean cleaner air and a longer life for your car’s catalytic converter — but a more costly fuel.
The rule will tighten requirements for the “pool” of crude oil that refiners can use, cutting off some low-quality foreign supplies and potentially causing higher prices. The same requirement will affect diesel fuel later in 2006, too.