Gas Prices Fluctuations

A man fills up his gas tank at the Pilot gas station in Marion in 2015. 

Richard Sitler, The Southern

According to the petroleum experts at Gas Buddy, gas prices in the United States are projected to be the highest it has been in a few years.

U.S. oil inventories started the new year with about 50 million fewer barrels of oil than the previous year and exports of crude oil and refinery projects have risen to record levels since restrictions were lifted in December 2015, contributing to less supply as exports rise, Gas Buddy reports.

“Motorists probably won’t be getting pumped up to pay more at the pump this year, but should find some solace in knowing we won’t come anywhere near record prices this year while most of the country will continue to see plenty of prices in the $2 per gallon range,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis with Gas Buddy, said in a statement.

While it doesn’t tell the whole story, experts say variables to the direction of gas process are also likely to be influenced by fiscal and monetary policies. Government budgetary moves through taxation and the decisions on interest rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve have an impact on prices.

“A stronger economy that affords motorists more disposable income matched with greater vehicle fuel efficiency will continue to incentivize Americans to take to the roads and quite possibly lead to a fourth consecutive year of increasing demand for fuel,” said a fuel outlook from Gas Buddy.

Gas Buddy projects that the yearly average gas price in 2018 will be $2.57 per gallon. The month of January will see the lowest prices at an average $2.41 per gallon, while May will average $2.73 per gallon, making it the priciest month of the year. On a yearly basis, a total of $364.6 billion will be spent on gasoline in the United States, up $25.4 billion from the $339.2 billion spent in 2017.

“While many may think there’s no way to feel like you win at the pump, there’s certainly many things motorists can do to soften the blow of paying for gas,” DeHaan said. “One can easily 'outsmart the pump' by shopping around for the lowest price … and by driving smarter to get more out of every tank. Most people complain about high gas prices, but everyone is empowered by these tools and others to spend less.”


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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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