Drivers Beware: Experts Say Gas Prices Just Hit A Bottom

Markets Benzinga

Fill up your tanks while you can. According to a new report by GasBuddy, low gas prices may soon be in the rearview mirror for American drivers.

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GasBuddy believes refinery maintenance season and a switch to summer blends will soon send gasoline prices soaring to their highest levels of the year.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act mandate a more expensive, environmentally-friendly blend of gasoline in the warmer summer months of the year.

Preparing For The Jump At The Pump

"There's no doubt that people should begin to prepare themselves for much more expensive prices at the pump, and the cost of driving will be a bit more expensive this year than certainly we saw last year or, for that matter, the year before," GasBuddy analyst Dan McTeague told Benzinga. "The amount of the increase will also be something to watch for as there's an expectation that some refineries may be out a little longer than anticipated, creating a cramp in supply."

Given falling supply from refinery downtime and the more expensive blend, GasBuddy predicts gas prices could rise between 35 and 75 cents per gallon by May.

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The firm also predicts a return to $3/gal gasoline for several major cities in the near future, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

Based on historical data, GasBuddy predicts the national average gasoline price will rise from its $2.26 low from February 9 to around $2.85 by Memorial Day.

From February 15 to May 15 last year, the United States Gasoline Fund, LP (UGA) surged 27.0 percent.

These States Likely To See Largest Jump

According to GasBuddy, the following five states witnessed the largest jump in gasoline prices between mid-February and Memorial Day last year:

    1. Michigan, +$0.95/gal.
    2. Ohio, +$0.92/gal.
    3. Illinois, +$0.92/gal.
    4. Indiana, +$0.90/gal.
    5. Wisconsin, +$0.86/gal.

Today, drivers in South Carolina are paying the lowest average price for gas at only $2.02/gal. Drivers in Hawaii are paying the most at $3.10/gal.

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