HOUSTON -- The five-month slide in gasoline prices has come to an abrupt halt, with gasoline rising by several cents in recent days amid indicators that the national average could jump to $2 a gallon or higher this spring.
A broad shift in the psychology of the oil market seems to be under way. Oil prices are up more than 40 percent since they bottomed out just below $33 a barrel on Dec. 19. The reversal, after months of declines, suggests that production cuts by the OPEC cartel may be having an effect, along with growing tensions in the Middle East and the sentiment by traders that the precipitous drop in prices went too far.
For six days in a row, drivers have been paying a few more cents a gallon than they did before Christmas. The change has been almost imperceptible for drivers who remember prices soaring above $4 a gallon last summer.