Feb 15, 2013 at 9:11 am
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The price of gasoline is topping out at $3.79 a gallon at stations around the St. Cloud area today, and one local expert says that the sharp increase in cost through the last week is the direct result of an unstable futures market.
Jim Feneis is president of First Fuel Banks and a nationally recognized expert on trends in gasoline prices. He says the unpredictibilty of the cost of gas is not a supply issue - it's provoked by speculators reacting to global relations and refinery malfunctions.
"There's something I refer to as an "anxiety premium" in this market, due to all of the turmoil in nearly every oil-producing nation around the globe," Feneis says. "Then you have persistent refinery problems. That gets the speculators' attention and they just throw money at it - countless billions speculated."
For years, Feneis has been tapped for national commentary on fuel trends, but he says the volatility of the market since 2008 has forced him to stop offering market projections.
"Our world as we know it has changed. I can't in good conscience, and with any degree of accuracy, predict these markets anymore," Feneis says. "I was doing live feeds on CNBC, and I had to politely tell them to go away. Every time you speak, your reputation is on the line."
According to AAA, St. Cloud's current prices are between $3.69 and $3.79 a gallon. This clears the state average of $3.65, and the even lower national rate of $3.62.