After dipping to near $3 per gallon going into the Christmas holiday, average retail gasoline prices in Bellaire have risen 4.6 cents in the past week to an average of $3.06 yesterday.
The local average compares with a national average that increased 2.4 cents to $3.25 per gallon, according to gasoline price website HoustonGasPrices.com.
Petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said the increase could be the first upward move in what may be “an ugly year” for drivers.
“Average gasoline prices are moving up as we enter the New Year, a trend that has held since 2008,” DeHaan said. “The biggest problem with that trend holding true this year is that we’re starting 2012 about 20 cents per gallon higher than 2011, breaking yet another high price record and setting up an ugly year for motorists.”
Many analysts also fear that some areas may see gasoline prices hit the $5 per gallon mark if a serious conflict arises with Iran.
Including the change in gas prices in Bellaire during the past week, prices yesterday were 19.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 0.8 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.
The national average has decreased 4.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 20.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.