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Concerns raised about "fiscal cliff" deal's effect on Wisconsin gas prices


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Social Security taxes may not be the only things going up for Wisconsinites as the result of avoiding Washington’s fiscal cliff.

Oil industry analyst Jim Ritterbusch says gas prices in Milwaukee might go up to at least $3.50 a gallon this year. And when gas goes up, so do the prices of food and everything else that gets carried by motor vehicles.

Ritterbusch says there are, “plenty of hot spots in the Middle East that will force up crude oil prices.”

Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.Com said the sparing of the fiscal cliff also reduces the possibility of a new recession. After the Great Recession took hold in 2008, gas prices dropped below $2 a gallon because lots of folks drastically cut back on their driving.

The AAA expects lower average fuel prices this year than in 2012. Pam Moen of the Wisconsin AAA predicts flat to modest gains in travel, as long as the economy shows some signs of getting better.

Thursday morning, the AAA said the average statewide price for regular unleaded is $3.21 a gallon, down a fraction of a cent from Wednesday. That’s also down by over 6 cents from a year ago.