Prices at the pump may reflect an improving economy - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Prices at the pump may reflect an improving economy

WASHINGTON. - It happens every Spring: The price of gas seems to go up. This year is no different.

"Today as refineries switch to summer grade gasoline, that's translating into higher prices to the consumer and we're going to see gasoline prices continue to rise over the next four to five weeks," explains petroleum industry analyst Andy Lipow.

This year's jump at the pump may more to do with Wall Street.

"If we look back a year ago, the general feeling in the market was we were reaching the depths of the recession," Lipow notes. "Over the past six months we've seen better economic data from factories from industry, and the market is translating that into higher prices because petroleum demand is expected to increase."

If there is any good news in all of this for consumers, it's that there does seem to be a cap this year on how high prices might climb.

"I expect that prices are going to level out over the next four to six weeks and then will plateau around $2.90 this summer," Lipow predicts.

With the national average already at $2.73 a gallon, those planning a getaway need to make sure there is one thing they take extra care in packing: their wallets.

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