As gasoline prices get closer to the point where consumers will stop buying, the corresponding rally in oil is probably over, commodities analyst Dennis Gartman told CNBC.
Gartman, editor of the Gartman Letter, said "egregious levels" of inventory also will pressure oil prices lower and they probably will settle in the $60 range, though there could be a short-lived spike to $80.
US light, sweet crude has rebounded as part of a seesaw journey over the past year. Prices hit an historic peak of $147 a barrel last summer, only to drop below $35 in January.
"I guess you could get crude back to $55 to $60 a barrel — $55 probably cuts off exploration, $80 probably brings into consideration a continued decline in usage, a curtailment on the part of U.S. consumers for driving," he said.
The dollar, which has been under extreme pressure in recent weeks over inflation fears, is rebounding, said Gartman. Dollar-denominated commodities benefit from a weaker greenback.
But Gartman dismisses speculation that the Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy soon.
"The Fed has never tightened monetary policy during a period of rising unemployment," he said. "It's going to continue to rise for a longer period of time."
But continued consumer weakness will work against a rise in oil.
The average national price for a gallon regular unleaded is $2.619, far below the $4 a gallon that hit a year ago today but well above the $2.195 of just a month ago.
"For the consumer, it's probably the only price that he actually sees on a daily basis is what he or she pays for gasoline," Gartman said. "When you see gasoline prices getting to $2.75, $3 (a gallon) it works against you psychologically, and your propensity to go out and buy other goods obviously gets diminished."