CHICAGO (Jan. 10) -- For six of the last seven years U.S. retail gasoline prices have risen from Christmas Day to mid-January but this year could run counter to that trend.“ That’s because of the massive buildup in gasoline inventory just announced by the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s weekly petroleum report. With an increase over the previous month of 16.1 million barrels (+7%) gasoline inventory now exceeds the highest level reached during 2012 and is at the highest point recorded since February 2011,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst, GasBuddy.com.“Gasoline inventories ended the year with the highest December level ever, and obviously we’ve added significantly to that, so for that reason we could see many markets remain flat or even decline slightly over the next week to two weeks,” says DeHaan. “You could say it’s the calm before the storm that arrives every spring.”“Having said that, we are confident that our overall forecast for 2013 and specifically for January will prove accurate, with the U.S. national average projected to be in a range from $3.21 to $3.43, with a median price at $3.29 per gallon, he noted.Earlier this week GasBuddy released its ‘GasBuddy Fuel Price Outlook 2013’ (http://www.scribd.com/doc/119477611/2013-Forecast) .GasBuddy operates over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 25 million times to help motorists find the lowest gasoline prices in their area.