After nearly five months of relatively stable declines, gas prices inched up last week for six days in a row. At an average of just $1.75 per gallon, prices are still far below what they’ve been at any time in the past three years, but consumers should get ready for higher prices over the next few months.
Prices typically move higher in early spring thanks to refinery maintenance and cuts in production, according to AAA. Prices also tend rise during summer, reflecting a seasonal increase in consumer demand.
Gas Buddy predicts that prices will peak at an average of $2.63 this May, drifting lower to $2.46 in August before falling back down to near $2 by the end of the year.
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Right now, the most expensive state for gas is Hawaii, where drivers pay $2.56 per gallon to fill up. California is the second-most expensive place for gas, with an average price of $2.39 per gallon, followed by Alaska, where gas costs $2.20 per gallon, reports AAA.
At the other end of the spectrum, Arizona has the cheapest gas at $1.52 per gallon, followed by South Carolina and Tennessee at $1.53.
Gas prices are generally lowest in the Southeast and Central United States, where gas taxes tend to be lower.
Historically low gas prices reflect several factors, including the strong dollar, the boom in North American petroleum production and a relatively quiet hurricane season. Economists have been expecting the low prices and subsequent savings to fuel consumer shopping, but for the most part that has not occurred.