Gas prices: Not everyone optimistic about predicted drop

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PHOENIX – Oil prices dropped 15 percent last week and experts predicted that gas prices could drop as much as 50 cents as early as June. That drop, however, might not materialize as hoped.

Last week, the national average was $4 per gallon. Since then, some places have seen modest drops of a penny or two.

Crude oil prices account for about two-thirds of what we pay for gasoline and it usually takes a week or so for lower oil prices to show up at the pumps.

AAA points to the old saying that gas prices go up like a rocket and fall like a feather.

A 50-cent drop in prices would save U.S. drivers about $189 million a day.

Typically, gas prices peak each spring, then fall into a summertime swoon that can last several weeks.

Now, however, there are concerns that severe flooding on the Mississippi could knock out refineries near the river. That has not happened yet, though, which means there is no reason gas prices shouldn’t go down, especially considering the fact that Americans are driving less so demand is down.

If the prices do not drop in the next few days, experts say it will be evidence and supply-and-demand is not playing a big role in what we’re paying at the pump.

The last time gas prices hit $4 per gallon, which was three years ago, oil prices were much higher than they are now. Back then, oil was $147 per barrel. Today, it’s less than $120. That considerable difference has many wondering what’s actually driving the price of gas in the U.S.

Some experts say a weaker dollar is a contributing factor, but it can’t be the only reason gas prices are what they are.

Americans continue to blame big oil companies for the high gas prices. According to recent polls, six out of 10 Americans place a great deal squarely on those companies. An additional three out of 10 say they deserve at least some of the blame.

Oil company executives are schedules to testify before a Senate committee on Thursday.