Gas Prices on the Rise: How High Could They Go in a Spring Surge?
With gas prices on the rise nationwide, we look at how high they could go by summer, plus tips to reduce your pain at the pump.
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Gas prices are ticking back up and are set to continue higher, following drops in energy costs and very welcome lower fuel prices at the start of 2023. But now the switch to more expensive summer gasoline has begun, and that means higher costs will be steadily passed on to motorists. So how much will gas prices rise, and what can drivers do about it?
Seasonal surge sees gas prices on the rise
A new report from the gas price app GasBuddy (opens in new tab) showed the nation’s average price of gasoline climbed for the second straight week, increasing 8 cents from a week ago to $3.44 per gallon. The report uses data from 11 million consumer price reports tracking more than 150,000 gas stations across the country.
The national average price rose 7.1 cents from a month ago. Silver lining: that's still 87.7 cents down from a year ago, at the height of the economic fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The average diesel price has fallen 4.1 cents to $4.30 per gallon, which is a similar 82.1 cents lower than this time last year.
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GasBuddy's head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan notes that while oil prices dipped on projections of weaker economic growth, gas prices will continue to inch up due to staggered refinery maintenance and the higher cost of seasonal gasoline blends.
DeHaan predicts a bumpy transition to summer fuels that will create unpredictable hotspots and potential surprise jumps in prices during the spring. Continual weekly increases aren't guaranteed, but prices should follow an upward trend through the spring. At the current rate of increase, a $4 per gallon national average (opens in new tab) is possible by Memorial Day.
So count your blessings that we've escaped the alarming gas crunch of 2022, but prepare to pay steadily more at the pump as seasonal fuel blends shift and travel plans heat up.
States with the highest / lowest gas prices
The median U.S. gas price is $3.29 per gallon — an 8-cent bump up from last week and about 15 cents lower than the national average.
The three states with the highest prices are as follows:
- California ($4.87)
- Hawaii ($4.81)
- Nevada ($4.29)
The lowest price states are as follows:
- Oklahoma ($2.97)
- Mississippi ($3.00)
- Arkansas ($3.06)
How to save money at the pump
Worried about rising gas prices crimping your spring and summer plans? Consider these seven gas-saving tips to cut down your fill-ups.
- Drive slower: Lower speeds require less fuel, mostly because aerodynamic resistance increases with the square of speed. Brakes turn your money into heat, so can you avoid using them?
- Take off the roof rack: A bulky rack can disrupt your car's aerodynamics and make it less fuel-efficient.
- Combine car trips: This can save on overall miles driven. It also reduces driving on a cold engine, which generally uses more fuel than a warm engine.
- Use fuel-saving apps: GasBuddy (opens in new tab), Gas Guru and other options can locate the cheapest gas in your area.
- Monitor your tire pressure: Under-inflated tires lower your gas mileage. If your tires are 25% low on air, that’s a 2% hit to your gas mileage. Check your tire pressure once per month to keep them at the recommended PSI.
- Stop idling: Your car wastes fuel after about 7-10 seconds of idling. Most cars have auto-shutoff features to save gas, but you can disable it. Resist that temptation and save at each red light.
- Empty the junk in your trunk: The EPA (opens in new tab) estimates a 1% in fuel mileage reduction per 100 pounds. So stop endlessly carting around those golf clubs, cases of water, cleaning supplies, and even that unused back row of seats.
- Kiplinger's Energy Outlook
- Who Controls Gas Prices in the U.S.?
- Gas Prices Around the World
- Why Are Gas Prices So High if the U.S. is Energy Independent?
Ben Demers manages digital content and engagement at Kiplinger, informing readers through a range of personal finance articles, e-newsletters, social media, syndicated content, and videos. He is passionate about helping people lead their best lives through sound financial behavior, particularly saving money at home and avoiding scams and identity theft. Ben graduated with an M.P.S. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Vassar College. He joined Kiplinger in May 2017.
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