The great gasoline gift of prices staying under $2 a gallon appears to be over, perhaps never to return again.
Motorists will mourn the loss and remember nostalgically those carefree, easier-on-the-wallet days just earlier this year. The glut of crude oil that had flooded the market with an oversupply appears to be over.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at its Thursday meeting is expected to consider capping oil production. Combine that with oil company cutbacks in the United States, Brazil and Canada, and consumers can expect gasoline prices to rise.
Production disruptions have occurred in Canada because of wildfires and Nigeria because of rebel attacks. Crude oil, which had traded below $30 a barrel in January has topped $50 and could go higher.
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Airfares also may go up because of the increase in fuel costs that air carriers will have to absorb.
Consumer demand for gasoline is expected to go up during the summer as more people hit the road for vacation.
In the Kansas City area the price of gas was about $2.17 a gallon for regular unleaded on the Missouri side of the state line and $2.32 a gallon in Kansas. The price area residents pay for gasoline is low compared with $2.31 nationally, AAA motor club reports.
People feel the pinch and complain about it when the price goes up. But drivers have motorists’ amnesia over how long ago the price was substantially higher.
Nationally gasoline prices were $2.74 a year ago and an unbelievable $3.37 a gallon for unleaded regular in 2014.
When gasoline prices were $1.50 a gallon or less, people eagerly talked of gas dropping under a buck a gallon.
Unfortunately, that will never happen. The crude oil production will return to a level that meets consumer demand. Let’s hope it never climbs to $100 or more again.
The jump to more than $2 a gallon already is causing some agony. As a result, people will return to buying more electric, hybrid and other fuel efficient cars.
We’ll likely pay a lot more at the pump during each stop for gasoline before the year is out, and the gas price grumblings among Americans will return to a more normal level nationwide.