Why Do Gas Prices Jump So High Seemingly Overnight?

Cost In New Jersey To Jump Amazing 17 Cents On Friday

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The price of a gallon of regular gas will jump 17 cents on Friday, to about $3.26, on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

It’s hard not to think you’re being gouged at the pump when you see the prices go up that fast, and in some cases, you are. Aside from that, though, the buying and selling of gasoline is a complicated business based on anticipation as much as reality, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Drivers in the Tri-State are growing increasingly frustrated with growingly expensive gas, and are trying to find ways to avoid the pumped up prices.

“Within a month it went from $3.30 to $4.00,” Long Island City resident Philip Klugman said. “To me, it’s a little ridiculous.”

“I’m filling up now, because I’m sure they’re going to boost their prices up,” Sayreville resident Scott Pimentel told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez. “I don’t need to refill, but I’m topping it off.”

The turmoil in the Middle East is a big reason for the spike in oil prices, but the oil that sells for $100 a barrel still has to be refined, so many are wondering why the prices went up overnight.

It’s true that investors will speculate on whether world or natural events will push up the cost of crude oil – eventually leading to higher gas prices – but service station owners also raise and lower their prices based on what it’s going to cost them to replace the fuel that customers are buying today.

“These are businessmen who are buying their supply every day, every other day, and it’s replacement cost,” Beth Heinsohn, of Oil Price Information Service, said. “They have to have enough money, literally, to buy the next tanker load that they sell to customers.”

That oil that made the gasoline that customers are putting into their cars today may have only cost $85 a barrel, but the oil that makes the fuel that will replace it will cost a lot more. Customers, then, are paying more now to cover the station owner’s cost in the future.

“For example, between Monday and yesterday, wholesale prices – the cost at which these guys buy their material – went up across the country 11 to 18 cents,” Heinsohn said.

Station owners didn’t pass that full increase along to customers, because they play the averages, knowing that when the price of oil comes back down, their prices will stay up long enough to make up the difference.

How do you cope with the seemingly unending increases in gas prices? Sound off in the Comments section!

More from Hazel Sanchez

One Comment

  1. Frankie G says:

    I really dig what you have done here. You have given us some great information which will help a lot of your readers. Do you have any other ideas?

  2. Alex says:

    I usually pay for my gas with change. The prices of gas effects everything in my life… Job family income everything.. If Americans weren’t so dependent on fuel for a week it would make a difference..

    1. skyler says:

      What your saying is true as far as yes if Americans all boycotted fuel for a week yes of course things would be radically different. Don’t be confused though, these prices are not cause by supply and demand as many would think. If anything, Americans are using less fuel and becoming more and more less reliant on crude. these price hikes are 100% attributed to two different legislation’s passed 11 years ago. I wrote an article about it here on my site.. http://www.productservicereview.com
      check it out and if you have any questions about what I have put out there, email me and I’ll do my best to answer. We need to wake up people, and overturn these speculators involved in our exchanges and then we will see some real change.

  3. moko says:

    Okay so when oil prices go up they need more money to buy the next tank of gas. But what is the excuse for when oil prices drop – we still pay for it for another month.

  4. John says:

    You want things to drop in price? We’ll STOP buying every thing for one weekend a month for two month’s and you will see one big change, every thing will drop! The stock market would crash and the rich would lose billions. Thats how you stop things from going up and up every day !

    1. Jessica says:


  5. peteacherusa says:

    Here is what I want to know. Why in the world are we using corn (one of our primary food sources) to make E85 when there are other options that are just as good or better? We have farmer getting subsidies to let farm ground sit idle (why is beyond me but such is still the case) so why not do away with the subsidy and have those farmers plant swithgrass to make the E85. From what I’ve read it produces just as much ethanol, can be harvested with traditional bailing equipment, and will grow in just about any soil. Farmers can still sell it, we won’t be using our food to make fuel, and our dependence on foreign oil will go down. Sounds like a win/win situation to me. By the way…can I get a subsidy to just sit at home and not work? Time to do away with subsidies for farmers.

  6. Richard says:

    I just think the Oil gluttons and stock holders and service station owners are getting greedy. There is no reason with millions more cars on the road to increase the price on speculation of world oil reserves,what it cost’s for a barrel of crude transportation or whatever. I don’t buy off on any of these brain washing ideas. With more cars on the road means more sales at the pumps there is no reason or need to raise prices.

  7. darrin Mc Dougal says:

    Even when the price of a barrel of oil drops, it still goes up at the pump. So let’s be honest.

  8. gary says:

    obama is for big oil and big business. You have to look at what he does or does not do, not at what he says.

    1. Elaine says:

      You have President Obama confused with Bush don’t you? Bush was in bed with big oil companies for 8 years!!!!! The Republicans and Tea Party are still for no one but themselves and the rich!! They don’t give a flip about working class and poor people!!

      1. YouareKiddingRight says:

        Ah….Bush is no longer President? I think our current President owns this rise in price….unless you are implying Bush is still in control. No wait, I see…anything bad is still Bush’s fault. Oil is the greatest scam in history and has been that way since Carter. Neither party has done anything to remove out reliance on oil.

        Small fact you overlooked. Obama received more money from the oil companies, foreign and domestic, then any other candidate. Bought and paid for he is.

        You say Republicans are for the rich and don’t care about the working class. Not sure you are right about that. Working in generalities is not smart. From the looks of who both sides are taking money from…I call it even. Historically, the GOP ended slavery…the Democrats…well they didn’t. I am not saying Democrats support slavery, but I guess I could using your illogic.

        Just take a breath and look at the facts…both parties support the money, because we have too few statesman left in politics. Blaming the GOP makes you look….emotional.

  9. jerseyjoey says:

    Wieder einmal der Jude Streiks bei der arischen Herz

  10. jerseyjoey says:

    Its all BS

  11. RICH says:


    1. Katy says:

      For crying out loud Rich……Gas is high, no matter where they take the picture of a sign!!! Good Grief!!!

  12. Doc Samson says:

    Oh, really? d-bag…

  13. Dee says:

    Chavez to the rescue citgo will give free gas to the poor

  14. DR RUTH SAYS... says:

    our chump change presidente..in the pockets of the oil companies..like BP..they all rule..they own this government..ah the gas smell of fascism in the morning..smells like

  15. Frank B says:

    Hello Chevrolet Volt! How long I’ve waited for you!

    1. summer says:

      allan zeleski……if your reading this i wanna meet you…………..i think your kinda hot……..lol..

  16. RonE says:

    Wake up folks this a rigged game by the government and the oil companies. Today, oil went to $101/barrel (55 gallons)and the pump price $3.55 to $4.07 per gallon, now flash back to July Aug 2008. -Oil peaked at $147/barrel and the price at the pump was $3.67 per gallon. Basically in 2008, the taxes, refining, delivery costs, wholsaler fees and profits cost $1.00 per gallon over the crude cost. Now ask yourself this why is the the price of gasoline today is as high as it was in 2008, when the cost per gallon of crude today is 68% of what it was in 2008. Basically our federal, state and local governments has added almost a 32% tax increase sine 2009. Based on actual costs, if you still gave the governments and companies the same $1.00 markup, the price of gas today should be $2.87 not almost $4.00 per gallon. It’s time to write the president,m congress and gas company and tell them enough is enough unless the real intent is to nationalize America!

  17. c steeley says:

    Thats 20 MILLION!!!!!!!!

  18. mike says:

    should take it off of nymex stock market.

  19. bigcat203 says:

    lets see oil is drying up, so is propane, how far off is natural gas. looks like the steam engine will make a come back.


    USE OUR OWN OIL !!!! AKA ALAska pipeline that was built for our use back in the 70’s and 80’s guess what !!! none of it goes here !!! it goes to the far east !!! JAPAN,,,KOREA ETC. why were helping there Eonomy !!!! so they can sell it back to us at 3 xxxxxx the profit !!! what are we !!!! DUMB AMERICANS WE BUY IT !!!! WITH NO THOUGHT OF COST TO OUR OWN ECONOMY !!!! THIS GOES BACK TO THE END OF WWII !!! THIS ALSO INCLUDES OTHER PRODUCTS !!!!! THATS ANOTHER SUBJECT !!!! THANX FOR THE TIME !!!

  21. ObviousAl says:

    How come gas prices jump so high? For the same reason thieves go to banks. FOR THE MONEY! What a dumb headline.

  22. Paul King says:

    Why is it that brilliant nation invent anything that replaces fuel as source of energy? Because, if there is, making many people suffer of everything, they, that supplies fuel for mans needs today.

    Thank you……

  23. JOhnny says:

    It’s Santa Claus fault, all his evil elf rigged the system

  24. John B says:

    Hello – testing

  25. Hank Kimball says:

    its Bush’s fault

  26. Tom says:

    Why is this country addicted to foreign oil?

  27. Yodi says:

    Well, then, when the price of crude drops, Why is it that the oil companies/Stations say they have to keep the higher price to cover what they Paid for the Gas already on hand/in the ground at stations if we are paying for the Future load?? Sounds like a load of Crock to me. The Government needs to put a STOP to The stock Market being involved in Oil prices!

  28. dave says:

    It’s called greed,

  29. oil_sudk_blood_out says:

    I ment SHOULD NOT BE – RICH are getting richer – wehat a corrupt system – price based on specaulations – ALL infilated to make rich ivester + Mobile +Shell very rich by the minute.

  30. oil_sudk_blood_out says:

    Gas companies are gouging – OIL should be a comodity at all …

  31. moe says:

    How come the prices never go down as fast as they go up?

    The system is rigged.

  32. MIke says:

    Gee, Jonny. Was all the snow Obama’s falt too?

    1. c steeley says:

      Obama’s worth @0 Million ,and will have a salary, and free medical ins for life, like
      most of the politicians, how can they relate to us poor middle class slobs living
      paycheck to paycheck!!!!!!! They cant, they all suck!!!!!!!!

    2. AmericanCabbie says:

      YES, the snow was Obama’s fault too.

  33. Johhny says:

    Hey how’s that CHANGE Obama told us about. Nice job

    1. etrnldrk says:

      Lol, change is all I have left after filling my car up.

      1. Nic says:

        I don’t even have change left when I fill mine up.

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