Expect Relief from Record February Gas Prices - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Expect Relief from Record February Gas Prices

Posted: Updated:

(CNN) - Gas prices rose 10% this month, making it the worst February on record, but drivers can expect relief up ahead.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.78 on Thursday, according to AAA, down about half a cent from the day before. But it was only the fourth day this month that prices declined, and gas is nearly 50 cents more expensive than it was at the beginning of the year.

"Gas prices increased at a dramatically faster pace than expected in February," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "Motorists unfortunately are paying more for gasoline than ever at this time of year."

Major maintenance work at many of the nation's refineries limited capacity and was responsible for much of February's increase, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, which compiles price information for AAA.

Kloza said the maintenance was necessary in order for the refineries to handle different grades of shale oil now being produced in North America. February's demand for gasoline is typically lighter than later in the year, which made the timing ideal for the upgrades. But it meant that the pain of higher prices came earlier than normal.

The recent run-up is especially painful because gas prices were already higher than usual. The average price of $3.60 a gallon in 2012 was a record high for a year.

But as the refinery work is completed, the capacity will start to rise again. Experts are therefore expecting a slow but steady fall in prices in the weeks ahead.

"Current prices are unsustainable," said Richard Soultanian, co-president of NUS Consulting, an energy management firm. "I don't think crude will remain this high, and demand for gas has been pretty sluggish." He predicts average prices in the low $3 range in four to six weeks.

Soultanian said a spike in the second half of the year is possible. Gas is typically more expensive in the summer due to environmental regulations that require more expensive blends of gasoline. People also tend to drive more in the summer, which can send prices higher. The risk of hurricanes can also impact capacity.

But even with all of those potential factors, North American production of crude oil has been increasing, which should ease the seasonal upward pressure.

"We're producing more crude than we produced in 20 years. There's a lot of crude out there," Soultanian said.

  • Massive House Fire Caught on Video

    Massive House Fire Caught on Video

    An elderly woman manages to escape with her life following a massive house fire. It happened late Saturday night around 9 O'clock at a home on Island Drive in Lake City near Mathis. The woman has nothing left, but is safe thanks to a few alert neighbors. It was all caught on video. The fire lit the night sky near Lake Corpus Christi as it burned a two story home. Ray Krebs lives across the street and saw the flames and ran over to help a woman who was renting a back house on the property.Kre...More >>
    An elderly woman manages to escape with her life following a massive house fire. It happened late Saturday night around 9 O'clock at a home on Island Drive in Lake City near Mathis. The woman has nothing left, but is safe thanks to a few alert neighbors. It was all caught on video. The fire lit the night sky near Lake Corpus Christi as it burned a two story home. Ray Krebs lives across the street and saw the flames and ran over to help a woman who was renting a back house on the property.Kre...More >>
  • Barber Battle

    Barber Battle

    It's being called one of the biggest events of its kind. The 2nd annual Texas Barber Battle and Expo was held Sunday, bringing in people from all over the country to Corpus Christi...The event brought in people from just about everywhere. One person was even a guest barber from Alaska! The event, is said to have brought in over 1000 people! The barbers battled in 4 different styles, fastest fade, traditional, freestyle, and duplicate. Duplicate means they were given a sketch and had to remak...More >>
    It's being called one of the biggest events of its kind. The 2nd annual Texas Barber Battle and Expo was held Sunday, bringing in people from all over the country to Corpus Christi...The event brought in people from just about everywhere. One person was even a guest barber from Alaska! The event, is said to have brought in over 1000 people! The barbers battled in 4 different styles, fastest fade, traditional, freestyle, and duplicate. Duplicate means they were given a sketch and had to remak...More >>
  • 51 Year Old Man is Dead, 2 Others Rescued After a Boat Sinks in Copano Bay

    51 Year Old Man is Dead, 2 Others Rescued After a Boat Sinks in Copano Bay

    According to the US Coast Guard, a 51-year-old man is dead and two others are safe, a 14-year-old girl and 52-year-old man, after their boat sank Sunday morning in Copano Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas. The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center received a distress call from a 24-foot center console boat taking on water at approximately 9:30 a.m. The three people donned life jackets and abandoned the boat, which sank shortly after the distress call was made. A Station Port Aran...More >>
    According to the US Coast Guard, a 51-year-old man is dead and two others are safe, a 14-year-old girl and 52-year-old man, after their boat sank Sunday morning in Copano Bay, just north of Rockport, Texas. The Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Command Center received a distress call from a 24-foot center console boat taking on water at approximately 9:30 a.m. The three people donned life jackets and abandoned the boat, which sank shortly after the distress call was made. A Station Port Aran...More >>