Gas Prices: $3.84 and Edging Higher

Gas prices edge higher six weeks away from the summer driving season.

ByABC News
April 18, 2011, 11:18 AM

April 18, 2011 — -- Gas prices are at an all-time high with six weeks to go before the summer driving season officially launches. And they are expected to go even higher.

The average price of gasoline is $3.84 per gallon, up 98 cents from a year ago and 5 cents from the previous week, according to the Department of Energy. That is the highest price for April since the data was collected in 1990. The last time gas rose higher than $3.50 was Sept. 29, 2008, when the weekly average hit $3.63. The last time gas was below $3 a gallon was Dec. 20, 2010 at $2.98.

"We're starting to see a little speculation by the gas companies, the retailers," said Charles Dewhurst, national energy practice leader with BDO. "They're already looking ahead to peak vacation season, which kicks off Memorial Day, which isn't very far way now."

Memorial Day is on Monday, May 30, this year, and Dewhurst said high gas prices are going to continue to affect everything from the pump to the grocery store. He said gas retailers, or "typical household names on the street corner" including Chevron, Exxon and Shell, will likely see greater profits as a result of the price increase.

"They're also anticipating the prices increases will stay in place if not increase more once we get into peak vacation season," Dewhurst said.

The hike in gas prices is correlated with the continued spike in oil prices. Light, sweet crude oil futures settled at $107.12 a barrel today, lower than Friday's settled price of $109.66.

Concerns about limited oil supplies from the Middle East are continuing to drive the spike in prices, Dewhurst said.

"There is supply interruption in Libya and continuing potential for more disruption elsewhere in the Middle East," he said. "That is the biggest worldwide event we're dealing with."

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi said Sunday the global oil market is oversupplied, making it unlikely that OPEC will increase its oil output, which could have helped decrease prices, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.