There is already plenty of chatter about the price of gasoline rising to $5 a gallon this summer. That may be coming from speculators talking up their positions. The spot-month RBOB gasoline futures contract has rallied 30 cents last week, pushing to price levels not seen since the 2008 spike. That’s even though the latest weekly EIA stock numbers for gasoline came 13.3 mb above the five-year average and 7.1 mb above last year at this time. Energy markets are soaring due to an inflow of noncommercial money into the energy futures pits. So far, the geopolitical situation favors their bullish bet. So does the calendar: The summer driving season is only a few months ahead. Wars have a tendency to start during the summer in the Middle East.
The pump price of gasoline in the US rose to $3.17 a gallon during the week of February 23. It is up 14 cents since the end of last year and 54 cents from a year ago. Americans used 9.1mbd of gasoline, on average, over the past 52 weeks. There are 42 gallons in a barrel. So Americans used 382.2 million gallons per day, on average, or 143.3 billion gallons in total over the past year. That means a one dollar increase in the price of gasoline takes almost $150 billion out of consumers’ purchasing power.