If rising gas prices were starting to give you flashbacks of those dark, dark times when a gallon of gas was almost enough to cover lunch at work, your flashbacks are probably more like glimpses into the future. U.S. crude oil prices hit more than $75 per barrel on Tuesday, their highest since November 2014.
And if you went out and bought a new giant truck to drive from the suburbs to your job in the city after gas prices dipped, you should’ve known that nothing lasts and everything is cyclical. Keep smiling through the pain as those prices tick upward, though. You’re in it for the long run now, especially if you have one of those 97-month car loans.
West Texas Intermediate oil, used as a benchmark for U.S. light crude, hit $75 per barrel Tuesday while international benchmark Brent crude was slightly higher, trading at around $78 per barrel. (As of this writing at 11 a.m. ET, West Texas Intermediate oil had fallen to $73.16 per barrel.)
That $75 mark is the highest U.S. light crude oil has been per barrel since prices finally let up at the end of 2014, the year AAA U.S. national averages hit $3.70 a gallon. Reports are that prices are only going to go up, thanks to supply worries and other factors. All it takes is a quick glance at the West Texas Intermediate price tickers from the past five years and the past year to see that happening:
CNBC reports that the recent surge in oil prices has been partly due to an outage at a major Canadian facility, which led to stockpiles of oil in the U.S. falling, and conflicts in Libya. From CNBC:
On Tuesday, Libya declared force majeure on exports from two critical ports, Zueitina and Hariga, that together handle about 850,000 bpd of oil shipments. Oil producers declare force majeure when forces beyond their control disrupt oil supplies. A dispute between rival political factions with competing claims on Libya’s exports is at the heart of the latest disruption.
That added to the loss of 360,000 barrels per day from Canada’s Syncrude facility in Alberta, which supplies the United States with heavy crude and suffered a power outage last month. The outage is not expected to be resolved until July.
CNBC also reports that on Monday, Morgan Stanley raised its expectations for Brent crude. The new forecast is for Europe’s Brent crude to hit $85 per barrel in the second half of 2018, up $7.50 from Morgan Stanley’s last estimate.
Everything will be fine. If not, it’ll cost us a whole lot more money to escape the reality of it all in a gas-powered vehicle.