ATLANTA — The metro Atlanta average for regular gasolinedipped slightly on Tuesday to $3.78 a gallon, according to AAA.
The drop follows a month-long run-up that saw gas jump almost 50 cents.
Certified financial planner Wes Moss of Capital Investment Advisors in Sandy Springs agreed to answer questions from drivers about what to expect going forward.
Q) “Are gas prices raised artificially or is it truly supply and demand?” asked Mike Masarek of Atlanta.
A) “Gas prices are absolutely a supply and demand situation,” Moss said. “It sounds simple. But what’s complicated is there are a dozen ore more factors that go into the supply side and demand side.”
Q) “Why is it that gas prices can’t be consistent like they always used to be in the past,” asked Franklin Norman of Atlanta.
A) “I remember when gasoline was almost a dollar a gallon, so a five percent increase was only five cents,” Moss said. “Today a five percent increase can be 15 to 20 cents. It’s still the same percentage increase, but now that we’re operating with higher gasoline prices in general, it feels like the swings are a lot greater.”
Q) “Why does it vary so much? Why do I feel like I need to drive 100 miles to North Georgia to a miscellaneous gas station to get a decent price?” asked Leanna Rinzler of Atlanta.
A) “For the most part, gas station owners pay the same amount for their gasoline. If we’re in a metro area where there’s lots of traffic, they can get away with charging a little more,” Moss said. “Let’s say if we have an out of the way gas station, it may be a little harder to draw customers in, so they have to be more competitive about their prices.”
11Alive’s Jennifer Leslie had more questions for Moss.
Q) “Why are gas prices going up so quickly?” Leslie asked.
A) “Gas prices are always going to follow energy prices, and that’s basically crude oil,” Moss said. “Crude oil prices have gone up about 12 percent since the low in December until the peak in February. Right now, there’s lots of reasons why gasoline has been in more demand, oil in more demand. It’s the economy. It’s the weaker U.S. dollar at the beginning of the year.”
Q) “How high will gas prices go?”
A) “Very recently we’ve seen oil prices stabilize and actually come down a little bit,” Moss said. “So even though gasoline prices have been rising, I think that is short-lived. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see gasoline prices flatten out and start going down over the next two to four weeks.”
Q) “Any idea how low gas prices might go?” Leslie asked.
A) “I don’t see any dramatic reduction in gasoline prices because oil prices haven’t really catered at all,” Moss said. “They’ve stopped going up, and they’ve come down marginally. We could see a five, maybe 10 percent drop in the next two to four weeks for gas prices but nothing significant.”