Early-January gas prices are at their highest level in four years and are expected to be a harbinger of what’s to come for the rest of 2018.
U.S. motorists are projected to pay billions more in fuel costs this year compared to 2017, as gas prices are likely to increase for a second consecutive year.
According to GasBuddy’s 2018 forecast, the price for a gallon of regular unleaded is expected to average $2.57 nationally this year.
Motorists probably won’t be getting pumped up to pay more at the pump this year.
GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan
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If those projections are correct, that would mark an 18-cent jump from last year’s average of $2.39 and a 45-cent jump from 2016, which averaged $2.12.
GasBuddy, an online app that tracks fuel pricing, projects a typical American household will spend approximately $1,898 on gas in 2018, a significant increase from $1,765 last year.
Broken down further: On average, a 15-gallon fill-up would cost $2.70 more this year than in 2017.
That projects into $364.6 billion being spent nationally on gas this year, compared to $339.2 billion in 2017 and $302.5 billion in 2016.
“Motorists probably won’t be getting pumped up to pay more at the pump this year,” GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan said in the report.
GasBuddy projects January ($2.41) and February ($2.42) to be the least-expensive months nationally in 2018, with April ($2.70) and May ($2.73) predicted to be the priciest.
Why the rising costs? Start with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC’s November deal to extend production cuts first agreed upon in late 2016 fueled momentum for oil prices, which topped $61 per barrel on Wednesday for the first time since June 2015.
Higher oil prices translate into higher gas prices.
On Wednesday, motorists in the Bradenton-Sarasota area were paying an average of $2.42 per gallon, below the state ($2.45) and national ($2.49) averages.
“Gas prices normally decline during January and February, as gasoline demand hits the lowest levels of the year,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins.
$364.6 billion The amount projected to be spent nationally on gasoline this year.
Indeed, GasBuddy projects January ($2.41) and February ($2.42) to be the least-expensive months nationally, with April ($2.70) and May ($2.73) predicted to be the priciest.
Moreover, GasBuddy projects the Tampa Bay area’s highest daily average to be in the $2.65-$2.95 range in 2018.
The highest national average was $3.60 per gallon in 2012.