Gasoline and diesel prices are hitting all-time highs again — at a national average of $4.40 and $5.55 per gallon, respectively.
Higher fuel costs are prompting some consumers to change their driving patterns, with drivers consolidating grocery shopping trips to save on gas.
Analysts predict if a recession were to occur, demand destruction would kick in, causing oil prices to fall.
“Back in July 2008, crude oil prices reached $145 per barrel. By December, the price had plummeted to $35 per barrel,” Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates told Yahoo Finance.
“A recession with a decline in demand of 10% can result in a $35 to $50 per barrel decline in oil prices which translates into 75 cents to $1.25 per gallon for gasoline,” he added.
Several factors are still currently keeping oil prices high. The G-7 has pledged to ban or phase out Russian oil imports amid the continued invasion of Ukraine. The European Union has announce a similar plan, but it requires a unanimous vote to ratify the embargo.
OPEC+ has been increasing production quotas in order to increase supply, but the oil cartel’s actual production is falling short of its target.
“Barring a recession, high energy prices are going to be with us for several years,” analyst Andy Lipow recently wrote in an oil brief.
Lipow points out prices could remain higher, in part due to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) recent announcement of a long-term buyback plan of crude oil to replenish the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The DOE announced a call for bids to take place in the fall of 2022 to secure delivery in future years. The government anticipates prices to be lower by then.
Earlier this year, the Biden Administration ordered the release of release of 1 million barrels of crude oil per day for 180 days from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The move was intended to bring down the price of oil and alleviate prices at the pump.
On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate (BZ=F) and Brent International (CL=F) futures rose amid a falling number of Covid-19 cases in China. Natural gas prices also rose after Ukraine said a key pipe from Russia to Europe would be disrupted.