Gas Prices Less Predictable This Year, But Outlook Could Be Good For Louisiana Oil Producers

This story was reported for WWNO -- New Orleans Public Radio

One analyst expects gas prices to rise 5-15 cents higher than they are today.
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Gas prices usually rise in the spring and peak around Memorial Day. That’s because refineries make more expensive blends for summer. Last week, though, prices leveled off early.

The gas you put in your tank in the summer is actually a little different than other times of the year. It’s a different blend.

Because of heat, the federal government requires refineries make a less volatile blend of gas in the summer.

Patrick DeHaan is an analyst for GasBuddy.com. He says that makes it safer, but also more expensive.

“The feedstocks that create that summer gas are more costly,” says DeHaan.

Overall, the slow climb in gas prices this spring has been on trend with recent years, but things have been a little less predictable this year. DeHaan says that has to do with a bigger factor -- the organization OPEC.

“Basically OPEC has been mulling over whether or not to cut back oil production,” he says. “And temporarily oil prices have taken a bit of a dip.”

When OPEC scales back oil production, it creates a void in the global market. That's generally good for Louisiana because it gives producers here the chance to fill that demand.

By Memorial Day, DeHaan says Louisiana gas prices could be 5 to 15 cents higher than they are today.