Oil, gas prices on the rise before Christmas, could drop in January | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Oil, gas prices on the rise before Christmas, could drop in January

Posted: December 19, 2012 - 6:52pm

Oil prices are hovering at the $89.51 a barrel price. In recent weeks it has dropped below $86 a barrel for sweet crude. With oil prices below $100 a barrel, prices at the pump have declined steadily from $4 a gallon last summer.

What lies ahead in the new year?

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch says U.S. oil prices could drop to $50 a barrel if problems arise moving all the new production out of the middle of the country,” a CNN Money report noted.

With Brainerd lakes area gas prices holding at $3.099 a gallon for unleaded gasoline at most stations, Costco members are paying $3.039, while prices are plummeting within 20 miles of Brainerd.

What gives?

One can only assume local businesses will charge what the market will bear. It is anticipated that travel during the Christmas/New Year holidays will cause gasoline prices to spike. However, if prices begin to drop from the current high point, one would expect them to drop in early January when driving routines return to a more normal demand.

Regardless, prices in the lakes area continue to be higher than in areas as close as 25 miles from the junction of 210 and 371.

On a recent trip to the Twin Cities, it was noted that Little Falls was at $2.99 as were Royalton and St. Cloud gas stations. Prices in the Twin Cities were as low as $2.90 a gallon at a Costco in Coon Rapids.

In a recent stop at Costco, the question was posed to the attendant: Why were prices so high in the lakes area? Answer: Costco, which has become the price leader in the area, monitors prices within five miles of its site and maintains a lower price based on that information.

Well, if one wants to get cheaper gas it might pay to fill up in Little Falls or points south.

If you’re heading to St. Cloud the price was $2.83 Tuesday afternoon.

Most residents in the lakes area are accustomed to paying higher prices, but it was the hope of many that with Costco moving into Baxter, prices would be even lower than the current prices.

Persons wanting the best price available should monitor Gas Buddy, a free online service one can review daily.

Keith Hansen