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Don't expect any autumn relief from high gasoline prices

Alaska Dispatch

Hoping that cooler temperatures might bring relief at the gas pump? Don't hold your breath.

Shifting market dynamics, growing economies in China, India and Brazil, omnipresent Middle East political turmoil and other variables will keep oil prices high, possibly even increasing this winter, according to an interesting Los Angeles Times financial blog.

The article notes that in 2008 -- the last time American gasoline prices rose as quickly and painfully as they did this year -- onset of the "Great Contraction" just as rapidly brought oil futures crashing back to Earth:

The run-up in 2008 was followed by the biggest-ever fuel-price collapse. By the last week of December, 2008, motorists had blissfully returned to the much more affordable prices of early 2005, with a gallon of regular in California selling for an average of just $1.810. Nationwide, the average price was $1.613 a gallon.

As a result, the average price nationwide for all of 2008 ended up only about $3.25 a gallon, according to Kloza. But this year, no collapse in the market is anticipated. The average price for the year is running at about $3.66 a gallon, putting the country on track to pay a record $491 billion for gasoline for all of 2011, Kloza projects.

That's billion.

Not helping the situation: U.S. gasoline "on hand" isn't increasing despite soft American demand and near-record refining.

So far this year, national gasoline prices are averaging about $3.65 per gallon, which the article notes is a record price for this time of year. Of course, Alaskans snicker at this "record." Gas prices in Anchorage were around $3.85 this week. In Nome, gas prices were $5.49, a reporter at the Nome Nugget said Monday.

Read the full L.A. Times story here.