Although there's still conflict in the Middle East, we've had no major weather incidents, and prices have somewhat stabilized.Î¾ Amy Myers Jaffe with Rice University's James Baker Institute for Public Policy has been tracking gasoline prices as 2010 draws near.
"And I think the jury on that is still out.Î¾ We have two competing factors.Î¾ The long-term outlook for gasoline demand in the United States is negative.Î¾ In other words, we're going to have more fuel-efficient cars, and so therefore we're expecting actually that the big increases in gasoline use that we've seen over the past decade are going to ease in the United States.Î¾ But our gasoline price is tied not a hundred per cent to how much we're using — it's also tied to the international geopolitics that moves the price of oil around."
Talk of building new gasoline refineries has died down, as Jaffe explains.Î¾
"Ironically, it's not an issue, and that is because oil is a cyclical business, and of course the global economy tends to be on a, has downturns.Î¾ And so we're currently both in a global economic downturn, even though people are talking about recovery.Î¾ But at the same time, while we were in growth over the past decade, a lot of companies did actually invest in refining — not so much in the United States, but in other places like in Asia and elsewhere.Î¾ And so what we're actually coming into is a period of a surplus of refining capacity."
AAA Texas reports the nationwide price at the pump for regular unleaded gasoline remains at about $2.63 and the Texas average is at about $2.50.Î¾ Houston's average is $2.46 a gallon.Î¾ Ed Mayberry, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.