With prices soaring over $4.00 a gallon, drivers hope prices have reached their max. According to a local economist, there is evidence to suggest they may have.
"I wouldn't want to say with a threat of losing my life that they have," said Bill Johnson, an agriculture economist at Joliet Junior College. "I'd say there is better than a 60 percent chance that they have peaked or are close to peaking."
Johnson cites two examples pointing to what he believes are indicators of a peak.
First, he said that the relationship between the price of gas and the price of oil are inflated. In 2008, we had similar gas prices to what we have today. However, the price of oil was $148 a barrel then. Whereas today's oil prices are about $110 a barrel.
A second indicator is that we are seeing signs that people are using less gas. Johnson explained that when this starts to happen, it is usually a sign that prices are at or near peak.
What would threaten this is an unforeseen development that would cause price increases. For example, a disruption in the Middle East could affect gas prices, he said.
"Whenever something happens someplace that produces oil, it has an impact for everybody," Johnson explained.
Even if the U.S. does not buy oil from Libya, for example, a disruption there would affect gas prices here, he said.
"It would be nice to hear some news that things are calming down over there," he said.
All of this comes at a time when local farmers are rained out of the fields. Their inability to get crops planted has created a waiting game. Although gas prices are more closely tied to the price of oil than corn and ethanol are, there is a connection.
In next Friday's Ag News, learn how the continued storms will affect the average consumer.