As reported by WMUR this morning, gas prices have slightly increased over the past week, after a slight dip.
Looking at data from GasBuddy.com we see some interesting historical trends when it comes to March gas prices.
March historically sees a plateauing in gas prices, followed by a spike that peaks roughly around Memorial Day. The extent of the peaks vary from year to year, over the past 6 years as historical data, with anomalous years removed, NH typically sees a 17% jump in prices.
That being said, there is only so much room for prices to go up. Last year we saw only a 13% run up from a price level of about $3.50/gal, where prices rose right up against the $4/gal mark. This year we are starting at a base of roughly $3.65/gal, and a 13% increase would mean about $4.11/gal.
Conventional wisdom holds that $4.00/gal is the psychological point in which people begin to change their driving habits and most industry experts contend that the oil companies, faced with the loss of sales, will try to keep it under $4.00 a gallon. However there is only so much wiggle room before they would have to sell gas at a loss to keep it at or below $4.00/gal.
On a side note, if you haven’t discovered Gasbuddy.com yet, it is certainly worth a look. Beyond historical data, their primary purpose is to provide real time gas prices. Using something akin to a Wikipedia model, gas prices are updated by users punching in data from their local gas stations. Though these days gas prices can change several times a day, the time of the last update is noted which gives the reader an idea of how the accurate that figure is at that particular moment in time. For example, if the last update is 2 hours old, chances are it is right on the mark, if it is 18 hours old, maybe not. Data older than 36 hours is removed from the list.
It is a great tool if you are looking for the best price on gas whether it be around town, somewhere along your commute or on a trip.
Long story short, gas prices are only going to go up (baring some unforeseen event), so fill up now.