Gasoline Prices Top $4 in Champaign-Urbana
The price of regular-grade gasoline is as high as $4.09 a gallon in Champaign-Urbana. Area gas stations started raising their prices last Friday, as University of Illinois students prepared to leave for spring break.
Patrick DeHaan of the price-tracking site GasBuddy.com says the $4 price mark is a significant one ... which retailers usually avoid as long as they can.
"You know, there's a lot of negative PR associated with it", says DeHann, "and the station gets a lot of fingers pointed at them. So generally the station would be willing to accept less profit to keep the price down. But unfortunately when it comes to be too much, when push comes to shove, stations will raise their price over that mark, if they absolutely have to." Now that they've reached the $4 point in Champaign-Urbana, DeHaan says motorists can expect prices to decrease --- but only in the short-term.
"After prices go up across a widespread area, they tend to go down in the days following", says DeHaan. "But I do expect the long-term trend will remain upward. So, for the Champaign-Urbana area, we'll see the roller-coaster ride continue. Prices will go up sharply, and they may go down a few days after, then they may go up even higher."
DeHaan advises motorists to put off buying from gas stations that have just raised their prices ... because it's likely that prices will start going down again. He expects gasoline prices to continue rising through May, with some dropoff possible in June.
DeHaan says gasoline prices in Champaign-Urbana are following a trend that's common throughout the Great Lakes states. He says the higher prices are due to several factors, including problems with a Midwest pipeline, retooling and maintenance at oil refineries and concerns among oil speculators about possible conflict with Iran.