Fields recommends Midland residents continue with normal financial behavior. Photo by Holly Poag.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned gas prices might rise again this winter, but Midlands motorists may continue to enjoy decreasing gas prices after an early summer spike.
On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday night, Yellen said prices may rise due to Russian oil import caps set by the European Union. But Michael Fields, executive director of the South Carolina Petroleum Association, said Midlands prices are unlikely to change.
That’s because South Carolina’s oil mainly comes from the Gulf of Mexico, not Russia, Fields said. So Southeastern storms have more of an impact on gas prices than Russian politics.
“When we look at events that are affecting us locally, as opposed to broader, worldwide events, we can make more specific predictions,” said Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina.
Von Nessen advises Midlands residents to expect more volatility going forward saying, South Carolina is “not out of the woods yet” with fluctuating gas prices because of high inflation rates and rising interest.
“My advice would be to keep doing what you’re comfortable with,” Fields said. “People need to make choices based on individual needs and preferences.”
South Carolina historically doesn’t see a rise in gas prices during the winter, Fields said. Still, he said, he doesn’t like to speculate on future gas prices because it’s a “volatile commodity.”
Fields added he is a “little surprised” by Yellen’s comments, considering so many factors play into the gasoline industry.
GasBuddy Inc., a company that tracks real-time data on gas prices, could not comment on Yellen’s statements Monday, according to Patrick De Hann, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
“Gas prices will go up, they will go down,” Fields said. “It’s not smart to speculate specific prices.”