Gas prices on average will be 19 cents higher per gallon than last year, which could make prices the highest since 2014, according to GasBuddy, which released its 2018 Fuel Price Outlook Wednesday.
This would be the second year that the national gas price average will rise. This year’s average is forecast to be $2.57 per gallon. GasBuddy’s forecast indicates the country will see prices peak at a little less than $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions or incidents could push the national average closer to $3.
Though prices will be up, GasBuddy said it does not expect any record-breaking prices this year.
“Many will be quick to ask why we’re expecting higher prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production, leading oil inventories to begin 2018 nearly 50 million barrels lower than a year ago. Yet, understanding many factors, including OPEC, fuel taxes, the economy and their impact on supply and demand is integral to providing a thorough and balanced outlook on gas prices for 2018.
“Even one event can completely change the trajectory of fuel prices for months,” he said. “Look what impact Hurricane Harvey and Irma had on gas prices and availability. No one could have expected the unexpected, but still, our forecast was less than a dime away from being spot on.”
GasBuddy forecast the national average last year to be $2.49, and it ended up being $2.39. Its forecast for 2016 was $2.28 per gallon, which was slightly higher than the actual average of $2.12.
In its 2018 gasoline forecast, GasBuddy predicts that the national average will be highest in May at $2.73 per gallon and lowest in January with an average of $2.41. In its prediction, gas prices will end 2018 at $2.49 per gallon.