COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Industry experts say soaring gas prices will get even higher in the coming weeks.
According to AAA, the national gas price average has increased 40% since the start of the year, from $2.25 on January 1 to $3.14 as of Thursday morning. It’s largely due to loosening pandemic restrictions and more Americans traveling.
In the last year, the average price of gas in California was roughly a dollar more than the national average, according to GasBuddy.com. Averages in Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto hovered just below California’s prices.
“There’s a huge pent-up demand for travel, which is great. [We’ve] got to get this economy going again,” said AAA spokesperson Bill Purpura.
Purpura explained as demand continues to rise, global affairs and weather are also affecting prices. By the end of August, we can expect another 10-20 cent spike.
Over the weekend, negotiations fell through between the oil-producing nations of OPEC. Some predict the fallout could push crude oil prices to a 7-year high.
“What they do is going to be important. It’s going to impact crude oil prices and eventually, that comes down to the consumer at the pump,” Purpura said.
Within the U.S.’s domestic supply, hurricanes and tropical storms also pose a seasonal threat to the production along the Gulf of Mexico.
“That’s where a lot of those refineries exist. And when hurricanes come in through those coastal communities, those gas lines shut down for safety reasons,” Purpura said.
In order to mitigate the toll on your pocket this summer, AAA offers the following advice:
- Combine errands to limit your driving time.
- Shop around for the best gas prices in your community.
- Lighten the load on your vehicle.
- Watch your driving habits; accelerating quickly burns more gas.
Experts also recommend regular maintenance and checking your tire pressure.
Americans are expected to pay a national average of $3.25 at the pump by the end of August. Traditionally, prices taper off toward the end of summer and the beginning of fall when children return to school and families travel less.