Oil prices tumbled this week, but drivers dreaming of cheap summer road trips might want to temper their expectations: Experts say a host of factors, including overseas output cuts and refinery operations, will actually make for higher gas prices over the coming months, NBC News reported.
The benchmark price of West Texas Intermediate fell 5 percent on Wednesday, dropping below $50. On Thursday, the price of crude oil fell to $49.28, its lowest close since November.
However, this is the time of year when demand from refiners historically weakens, as they make the switch from winter to summer blends and perform maintenance in advance of the summer driving season.
"Everyone forgets about the middleman — the U.S. refiner,"said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. "They're not drawing down inventory because they're doing maintenance on their plants."