Have you noticed prices at the gas pump creeping up ever so slightly again? It’s a byproduct of the recent rally in oil prices.
After remaining below $90 a barrel from late October to late December, crude oil prices touched $93 a barrel earlier this morning – their highest level since mid-September. The price of oil has risen close to 9% in less than a month.
Meanwhile, U.S. gas prices are up an average of 5 cents in the last two weeks.
That said, both oil and gas prices are still down compared to where they were a year ago. Last January, oil remained above $100 a barrel for almost the entire month.
As oil prices have rallied in recent weeks, so too have oil stocks.
Exxon (NYSE: XOM) shares have climbed 2.8% in the last five trading sessions. Chevron (NYSE: CVX) are up 2.9% over the same time span.
If you believe some analysts, however, oil’s mini-rally may be coming to an end. According to some oil experts, U.S. crude stockpiles will rise as demand for fuel wanes in the coming months. And even with the fiscal cliff and the presidential election in the rearview mirror, uncertainty over the debt ceiling and the lingering sovereign debt issues in Europe should keep oil prices in check, experts say.
So we might not be headed back above $100 a barrel just yet.
That’s disappointing news for oil investors…but likely a relief to everyone else.