Oil prices are closer than ever to the $150-a-barrel milestone that some economists predicted by summer's end, and this has consumers looking at an expensive driving season marked by record pump prices.
Crude futures rose briefly above $147 (U.S.) a barrel yesterday before settling up $3.43 at $145.08. Gas prices are certain to follow.
Scan the faces of those filling up and their financial pain is often visible. Eyes wince. Heads shake in disbelief when the pump display climbs past $100. Some can even be seen aggressively shoving the gas nozzle back into the pump rest, as if jabbing an imaginary oil-company executive in the ribs.
Steve Verona, founder of gasoline-hedging company MyGallons.com, said drivers are getting desperate. "People are increasingly looking for ways to protect themselves from these prices," he said.
Miami-based MyGallons, in response, was created to give drivers a chance to pre-buy gasoline at a fixed rate, protecting customers from higher prices down the road by locking them in today.
Members sign up on a website, pay an annual fee that's less than $50, and purchase their "gallons" online. Amounts are stored in swipe cards, no different than debit cards, and can be redeemed any time across a broad network of gasoline retailers in the United States (though the Better Business Bureau has warned consumers that MyGallons' network of participating retailers is still far from certain).
For more details: TheStar.com | Business | Putting brakes on gas prices