Will Gas Prices Keep Going Up?

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Young woman pays for gasoline at the pump with a credit card.
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The Balance is here to help you navigate your financial life. To that end, we track the money-related questions you most search on Google so we know what’s on your mind. Here’s the answer to your latest question about gas prices. 

Will gas prices keep going up?

While no one can say for certain, some well-informed analysts are guessing they will.

Slammed by international events, supply shortages, and increased demand, gasoline prices have reached new record highs nearly every day since May 10, with the national average for a gallon of regular hitting $4.59 on Monday, according to AAA. (A year ago, the price was $3.03.)

So, how long will the increases continue? Predictions vary, but several experts see the average ticking even higher this summer—possibly reaching the $5 or $6 range or more.

Motorists could be paying an average of $6.20 at the pump this summer, a 35% rise from today’s costs, if a recent analysis by JPMorgan Chase holds true. JPMorgan’s analysts based their prediction on expectations of increased demand from summer driving.

Not everyone sees the price increasing that much. While $6 a gallon gasoline is “improbable,” there’s a “strong possibility” the U.S. could see prices jump eventually to an average of $5 a gallon, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said on Twitter.

In the short term, GasBuddy forecasts that prices will reach $4.60 a gallon over Memorial Day weekend, before leveling out to an average of $4.40 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

(At least one gas station in California on Monday posted a price of $7.29 per gallon for regular, which is higher than the federal minimum wage.)

Gas prices soared after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, hitting $4.33 on March 11 before easing off to an April low of $4.07. Now summer driving demand and persistently high oil costs have pushed prices back up.

Gas is made from oil, whose per-barrel price of about $110 on Monday was roughly 18% higher than in February, before sanctions imposed on Russia’s oil production cut international supplies. Refining capacity has also dropped, and U.S. gasoline exports are higher than usual, putting more pressure on already-tight supplies of gas.

“Tighter supply and increased demand have pushed pump prices higher,” AAA said Monday. “This supply/demand dynamic and volatile crude prices will keep upward pressure on pump prices.”

There could be some relief on the way for the average price of diesel fuel, which at $5.55 per gallon Monday was just two cents off the record high set on May 19. Thanks to higher inventories, diesel prices could come down by 35 to 85 cents per gallon over the next few weeks, GasBuddy’s De Haan said on Twitter. And, in an effort to bridge any short-term supply shortfalls, the White House is preparing to release fuel from the nation’s 1 million barrel diesel reserves if necessary, a press secretary tweeted Monday. High worldwide demand has pushed up prices for diesel, worsening inflation by increasing costs to operate transportation, agricultural, and construction equipment.

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Article Sources

  1.  AAA. “AAA Gas Prices.”

  2. Twitter. “Patrick De Haan.”

  3. Twitter. “River Butcher.”

  4. Twitter. “Patrick De Haan.”

  5. Twitter. “Emilie Simons.”