You’ve been warned.
With those ominous words, one of GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analysts said fuel prices have bottomed out for the year.
“We’re likely to see some major increases at the gas pump as the seasonal transition and refinery maintenance get underway,” said Dan McTeague, one of the fuel-tracking website’s senior petroleum analysts.
What does that mean for the Bradenton-Sarasota area?
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded on Wednesday in the Bradenton-Sarasota area. It was $1.70 at this time in 2016.
The average price on Wednesday was $2.25 per gallon, according to AAA’s fuel tracker. With Gasbuddy projecting prices to climb as much as 75 cents per gallon by Memorial Day, that could mean $3 for the unofficial start to summer.
Even if prices don’t reach $3 per gallon, expect a significant jump in the coming weeks as spring break travel plans ramp up. Last year, the national average jumped 70 cents to $2.39 between Valentine’s Day and Memorial Day.
“Watching prices surge every spring certainly brings heartburn with it,” McTeague said.
Some of the nation’s biggest cities – Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington, D.C. – are expected to hit $3 per gallon “very soon,” with Gasbuddy warning other large metro areas could join them based on stringent summer requirements.