The good news is gasoline prices haven't spiked back up to the Katrina-Rita days of September. The bad news is the nation faces another bumpy gas price ride in 2006.

That's the word from analysts interviewed in a Knight-Ridder newspaper story published in Sunday's Transcript.

The pump prices, which locally have crept up to $2.15 per gallon, are being pushed by higher demand and rising oil prices. Unseasonably warm weather brings more fuel use and we've had near-record warm in the Midwest in the past few weeks.

The experts said crude oil prices will range between $45 and $75 per barrel. The industry standard closed at $63.14 a barrel on Tuesday of this past week. Oklahoma's per gallon prices showed an increase for the first time in weeks last month, AAA Oklahoma reported.

Before the holidays, we spotted some out-of-the-way stations selling gasoline for about $1.85 per gallon. Now, those same stations are back up over $2.

The U.S. Department of Energy expects the demand for oil to remain strong this year, growing at an annual rate of 2 percent.

The prices will remain high because of international demand and disruptions in supplies caused by natural and political events.

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