Think of July Fourth and you think of barbecues, fireworks, and, unfortunately, high gas prices.
According to AAA, gas prices this Independence Day weekend will be the highest they’ve beensince 2008. They see gas prices currently averaging about $3.67 per gallon nationwide.
Add to that the 41 million Americans who are expected to travel more than 50 miles from home this holiday – mostly by car – and you’ve got the recipe for what could be a lot of pain at the pump.
But is the end in sight?
Erin Gibbs, equity chief investment officer for S&P Capital IQ Equity Research, thinks the worst may be over for gas prices.
“I actually see it peaking around here,” said Gibbs. “This is typical. It tends to peak in the July area. I don’t expect too many increases.”
Worries about the impact of the recent run-up in gas prices may be premature, according to Gibbs. “We have done a lot of studies,” she said. “You need oil prices to increase about 20 percent before you can have an impact on the U.S. economy. So, there is actually a fair amount of elasticity around gas prices.”
Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson, also sees the potential for lower gasoline prices ahead based on a chart of the exchange-traded contract for wholesale gasoline, the RBOB gasoline contract.
The July 2013 peak for the RBOB was at $3.12 per gallon. It subsequently traded down, building a base of support with a neckline support of $2.86 per gallon, according to Ross’ charts. Over the past three months, it has since tested the July 2013 highs but is now coming down from that resistance level. It traded at $3.02 per gallon on Wednesday.
“There’s better support down below right around that 100-day moving average, around near $2.96,” said Ross, a “Talking Numbers” contributor. “Even lower than that is that neckline, where prior resistance now becomes support on any pullback around $2.86.”
But, Ross thinks RBOB could go a lot higher should it reverse course and move above the July 2013 highs. “Once you get out through there, then you can start to see those gas prices get higher and the psychological toll, if not a real economic toll, will filter its way through the stock market,” Ross said. “I think the biggest impact will be on the transportation stocks, which have been highflying, rather than on the individual’s pocket.”
To see the full discussion on gasoline prices, with Gibbs on the fundamentals and Ross on the technicals, watch the above video.