Pain at the Pump

Gas expert says $3.50+/gallon could come in Milwaukee today

CREATED Feb 13, 2012

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MILWAUKEE _ Drivers who need to gas up in Southeastern Wisconsin may find that they'll be paying $3.50/gallon or more for regular unleaded gasoline as early as Monday, according to an industry expert.

"I think we'll be between $3.50 and $3.65 here as soon as tomorrow, and it could be as early as today," said Patrick Dehaan of on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

He says there are multiple reasons for the rise, but that prices in Great Lakes states are not necessarily tied to the wholesale price of gas.

"We have a lot of states in the Great Lakes area that are on price cycling, where their prices don't really follow the difference in wholesale prices.  More like a roller-coaster ride.  Prices spike very quickly, then they come down very quickly."

DeHaan also cited how prices this winter did not drop as dramatically as they normally do during colder months.

"Prices didn't dip as low as they could have.  December, that's right around the time when prices bottom out.  We did see prices go lower, but they didn't bottom out as they did in years past," said DeHaan.

Because of that, come springtime, you can expect gas prices to rise above a dreaded benchmark around here: $4.

"I think $4 will be down the road a few months.  I'll say April or early May is when we'll see that ugly $4 sign come out.  Be ready for it."