Gas Prices Expected To Continue Rising Through Mid-May

UPDATED 03/19/12 4:15 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — An expert says just as the Chicago-area’s shattering weather records, we could soon set less pleasant records – the highest gas prices.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Patrick DeHaan, a senior analyst with in Chicago, says with an average of $4.37 a gallon, the Chicago-area now has the fifth highest gas prices, behind only three California cities and Honolulu.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

DeHaan says Chicago area prices got off to a slower start this winter because of an oversupply of the winter blend.

“Think of it as kind of a clearance sale of gasoline,” DeHaan said. You have an old product that we need to purge the market of this gasoline. So how do refineries do that? They start selling it at discounts, and all of a sudden, the merchandise is gone. The clearance sale is over and you have more expensive merchandise hitting the shelves and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.”

Now that the more expensive summer blends are kicking in, the price hike in the Chicago area is accelerating. AAA says prices will continue climbing through mid-May, reports CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl.

DeHaan expects by the time the price is expected to peak, it will reach just under $5 per gallon, an all-time high, eclipsing the $4.55 average from last year.

The good news: It probably won’t get much worse.

DeHaan doubts gas will hit the $5-per-gallon mark because it represents a “psychological tipping point” for consumers. He thinks gas station owners will do whatever it takes to avoid it.

“They would take less money rather than bring that sign out,” he says.

Presently, there are no gas prices under $4 to be found anywhere in the Chicago area. reported the cheapest price was at a 7-Eleven at 1101 W. Laraway Rd. in New Lenox, where the price was $4.05 per gallon.

The highest price was just 22 cents shy of $5 per gallon. At the Shell station at 130 W. North Ave. at the intersection with LaSalle Boulevard, the price was $4.78.

  • Jim

    It’s good to know that while oil is about $105/barrel, $50 below 2007, that gas has already exceeded the high ($4.25 in my area). Someone is making some serious $$$ here!!! Not making the news though for some strange reason.

    • kulin

      rich will make mony from pore its always like that dont vote republicans

      • Jim

        kulin, Maybe you haven’t been paying much attention, but in Illinois, Cook county, and Chicago, it’s the Democrats that have run our economy into the ground with their greed. I think a good suggestion would be to always vote Republican!!!

    • THEE Yard Ape

      There are ALOT of things that the media isn’t reporting. You really have to wonder if the prices will “mysteriously” start going down closer to the election??

      NO to 4 More!!!!

      • German Leprechaun

        Of course they will!! Hussein Obama will release some of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a misguided effort to increase refining and lower the gas prices. Look for prices to drop about 50 cents a gallon for 2-3 months, then climb back up post-election, just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas driving seasons!!!

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  • Centurion

    $4.05, $4.25, $4.35, $4.39? Why the multiple prices? Why the disparaging differences from one town to the next? Who makes up all these ridiculous prices? Why are the gas stations not on fire? Why do you people just accept this?

    • James

      Gas stations don’t set the prices. I thought everyone knew that. Where have you been?

  • Tired of pol

    Actually gas is cheap without any taxes.why,all the politicians are blaming the gas companies,unstable situations in the persian gulfs.attn all politicians blamed yourself,does not matter if you guys are democrats and republicans.all elected politicians are receiving money from all the lobbyists.we the people have more power to vote you all outs.

  • Lil' Bycracke

    Three Words: Wall Street Speculation.

    Gas should be $0.50 lower if it reacted to supply and demand principal. Of course the whole Iran thing is not helping either and it is helping fuel higher speculation. A 5-8% decrease in refinery capacity is also the least of the worries but a contributing factor as well.

  • Howard Gottlieb

    We are involved in the fundraising industry and I can tell you personally that higher gas prices affect every part of the economy. Shipping costs are increasing and people have fewer dollars in their pockets to purchase fundraising products.

    Howard Gottlieb

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