Gas prices rising: Drivers could feel 'real pain' at the pump by springtime, expert warns

Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas still have the lowest average gas prices

Drivers could begin to experience "real pain" at the gas pump in the coming months, one industry expert is warning.


It likely won't be until March, as temperatures rise and spring break nears, that "we'll start to see gasoline demand surge, along with refiners doing maintenance ahead of the summer driving season, creating a squeeze," Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum at GasBuddy told FOX Business.

rise in gas prices

Gas prices grow along with inflation as this sign at a gas station shows in San Diego, California, U.S. Nov. 9, 2021.  (Reuters/Mike Blake/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

As a result, drivers may see a "much more pronounced increase in prices" from March to May, according to De Haan.

The national average price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. rose to $3.31 this week, up 1.3 cents from a week ago, according to GasBuddy data. This marks the third consecutive week of gains at the pump, giving drivers a rough start to 2022. 


De Haan projected that there may be an increase of 10 to 20 cents per gallon every month starting in March through Memorial Day. 

He also said that the country is currently facing "just slight increases in most areas." 

Earlier this month, GasBuddy projected that the national average price for a gallon of gasoline could even climb to a high of $4.13 in June. 

A gas station in the Morningside Heights section of New York on January 12, 2022, with current gas prices. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Although most major U.S. cities could see prices peak around or just short of $4 per gallon, California cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento could see prices climb to over $5 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. 

However, after a projected "hot start to the summer," prices are forecast to decline, potentially falling just under $3 per gallon by the 2022 holiday season.

To date, the states with the lowest average prices are Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas, according to GasBuddy. Meanwhile, California, Hawaii and Washington still have the highest average prices.