News Local/State

Gas Prices Are High And Could Go Higher

A person pumps gas into their car.

Gas prices could flirt with $3 a gallon before the end of winter. Julio Cortez/AP

We should be seeing lower gas prices this time of year — but we’re not.

The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gas in the Champaign-Urbana area was $2.56 last week, up a whopping 43 cents from a year ago. Much of that increase happened in the last month, during a time when gas prices are usually going down.

Patrick DeHaan with the gas price survey group, says it appears gasoline prices will continue to go up and could peak close to $3 a gallon.  Gas prices are up because crude oil is around $25 more expensive per barrel compared to last year. Meanwhile, oil inventory is down. "So what’s happening is the pool of oil, if you will, that is in the U.S., is being syphoned out. Now only are we adding less to that pool, but now increased exports are taking that away and that has driven the price of oil up," DeHaan said.

Statewide, the average price for a gallon of gas is $2.57 a gallon. DeHaan says this could be the gas price floor for the rest of the winter.

"Buckle up. It could get a little ugly, especially late February," DeHaan said.