Analyst: Houston Gas Prices Have Peaked And Should Soon Start Falling

Gasoline prices in Houston may have hit their peak — at least for next several weeks. That's the view of one analyst who tracks local pump prices. As David Pitman reports, fuel prices have barely budged in the last seven days.

The average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded in the Houston is $3.86.  That's less than half-a-cent more than a week ago, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks local prices.   Analyst Patrick DeHaan prices should start coming down in the next few weeks, now that refineries have pretty much wrapped up their conversions to "summer blend" gasoline.

"Not only that, but crude oil prices have been dropping, and that's allowed gasoline prices to drop ever-so-slightly as well.  And that's what's going to lead to lower retail prices, in not only Houston, but much of the rest of Texas and around the country as well this week."

The decrease won't be as dramatic, nor as quick, as the increase.  DeHaan says there's a simple explanation for that.

"Stations make from one cent, to maybe 10 or 15 cents-a-gallon.  And that's why prices are slower to go down.  Because that's the only time, believe it or not, when stations come out ahead.  When prices are trending upward, stations, many times, make little, if any, money."

DeHaan predicts gas prices will continue to drop until there's reason to worry about a tropical storm or hurricane.

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...