Gas prices still falling, but get ready for a February increase

 A service station in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, is selling gas for less than the state average.  (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A service station in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, is selling gas for less than the state average. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

It’s costing less to gas up the car, and analysts expect pump prices will fall even further.

 

GasBuddy.com analyst Jeff Pelton predicted that gas prices in New Jersey would drop to $1.50 a gallon by Christmas, but he said it took longer because of refinery maintenance.

“I held my breath and, thankfully, we hit it,” he said. “And it looks like the rest of the month still bodes well for prices to drop another ten cents at least.”

While the average price in the Garden State is $1.79 a gallon, many stations are selling it for less, with the lowest price at $1.45.

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, said he expects gas prices to edge down for a few more weeks — but don’t look for them to hit $1.

“For gasoline prices to reach $1 a gallon, you need to see the benchmark crude oil prices move below $20 a barrel,” he said. “And that might happen, I wouldn’t rule that out, but I don’t think it brings gasoline prices with it.”

An oversupply of crude oil on world markets has also sent down the cost of home heating oil, Kloza said.

“People who shop around can buy heating oil for probably one-third of what they paid just two winters ago,” he said. “Certainly people can probably find retail heating oil for $1.50 to $1.75 and that is well under where wholesale prices have been for the past four years.”

Kloza predicted gasoline prices will start to rise again after Valentine’s Day, and they could go up 40 to 50 cents a gallon.

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