Americans won't find relief at the pump this week as gas prices edge higher: AAA

There's a 50/50 chance that gas prices will hit $4 a gallon, GasBuddy says

American motorists saw gas prices increase for a third week in a row, according to AAA.  (iStock)

Gas prices rose again for the third week in a row, but with oil costs stabilizing, drivers could see some relief at the pump in the weeks ahead, according to AAA.

The national average cost for a gallon of gas increased by less than five cents from last week to $3.68, reflecting a decrease in demand and a break in oil prices, AAA said

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI), an oil market benchmark, decreased by $1.70 to settle at $79.16 at the close of Wednesday’s formal trading session, AAA reported. Gas demand also declined to 8.52 million barrels a day from 8.94 million last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

"The recent surge in oil costs took a break this week, with the price of oil tumbling back into the upper $70s per barrel," AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross said in a statement. "If this oil price trend continues, drivers may see falling gas prices." 

Shopping for cheaper auto insurance is one way drivers can lower the cost of owning a car. You could consider changing your auto insurance provider if you want to save money on your auto costs. You can visit Credible to find your personalized premium without affecting your credit score.


Summer blend fuel another factor pressuring prices

Higher oil prices weren't the only factor pressuring gas prices, according to GasBuddy's head of petroleum analysis, Patrick De Haan. 

The switch to summer blend fuel has considerably impacted prices and is likely to keep pressuring costs in some areas of the U.S. The blend, which is designed to lower emissions during the summer, is more expensive to refine and can typically add about five to ten cents to the price of gasoline.

"While the rising price of oil is likely the largest factor in rising gas prices, seasonal impacts continue to also exert pressure on prices," De Haan said in a statement. "With the Northeast making the final step in the transition to summer gasoline this week, states in that region should expect a sharp rise in gasoline prices over the next week or two. 

"Every other region has already seen the final step in the transition occur, so while other areas will see prices continue to slowly rise, the Northeast is likely to see a pretty hefty jump of 15-40 cents per gallon soon. Oil prices remain a wildcard, but we're likely a few weeks away from seeing the national average peak. Whether it hits $4 per gallon or not is still perhaps a 50/50 chance."

If you are shopping around for new auto insurance, you can use the Credible marketplace to compare multiple providers and find your personalized rate in minutes.


Gas tax also hits consumer wallets hard

Summer blend fuel and rising oil costs have caused some gas price volatility in recent weeks. Another hidden cost impacting the price of gas that Americans pay daily is gasoline taxes which can total roughly $215 million a day, according to GasBuddy.

 "While most Americans blame oil companies or gas stations for the high price of gasoline, few remember the portion Uncle Sam takes at the gas pump: 18.4 cents on every gallon in federal gas tax," De Haan said. "But most states take even more than that and may not disclose at the pump how much tax is charged per gallon, causing motorists to target gas stations or oil companies instead of disclosing they are charging an average of 38.7 cents on every gallon.

"Some states pinch motorists even more by having a percentage-based sales tax on gasoline," DeHaan continued. "When gas prices hit a record last year, states saw money rolling in around the clock, in some places more than ever before."

These are some tips that can help drivers save money:

Shop for the best prices before you head to the pump

Using an app that displays gas prices in your area could help you avoid this costly mistake.

Avoid last-minute gas pumping

Waiting until your tank is empty gives you less choice of when and where you pump your gas. Yet 64% of Americans said they have come close to or run entirely out of gas.

If you are shopping around for new auto insurance, you can use the Credible marketplace to compare multiple providers and find your personalized rate in minutes.


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