Get Ready for $4/Gallon Gasoline

After a brief reprieve, gas prices are on the rise again, averaging $3.37 per gallon as January 2022 draws to a close, according to AAA. (1) Prices are up 39-percent in one year and are at the highest level we’ve seen since 2014.


BP Service Station


Gas prices are set to climb further, with GasBuddy.com analysts forecasting $4 per gallon by the Spring. (2) A recovering economy and strong demand most likely will play a part, with prices declining later in the year. If this forecast holds, vacationers should expect to pay the most they’ve seen in a decade.

In some states, such as California and Hawaii, the average price is currently over $4 per gallon, with a $5 per gallon average expected this spring. Reportedly, some stations in Mono County, California, were charging at least $6 per gallon as recently as November 2021. (3)  That’s in the ski area and a short trip across the Nevada line yields prices at least one-third lower. Since then, the peak prices have pulled back, they are still well above the national average.

Prices, of course, vary widely across the United States. As of this writing, Mississippi has the lowest average, coming in at $3.005 per gallon. By utilizing a tool such as the GasBuddy app, lower prices can be found where you live. Indeed, there are service stations in Texas with prices below $2.60 per gallon. That’s more than 40 cents lower than the Lone Star State average.

Pain at the Pump

Federal government policy is one driver of higher prices. Indeed, upon taking office, President Biden nixed the Keystone XL pipeline deal. Further, he has refused new oil and gas leasing on federal land, while imposing new regulations on the energy sector. (4) Oddly, releasing petroleum from the national stockpile and calling upon OPEC to pump more oil (they’ve refused that request), are among the proposals set forth. Neither offers much relief. Both make the U.S. more dependent on foreign oil.

Saving Your Sanity

Short of an overhaul in policy, improved supply, and reduced demand, consumers can expect that gas prices will hit the projected averages in a few months. Auto Trends recommends drivers do the following to reduce their costs:

Shop around.

Fuel prices vary from location to location. If you’re planning a long trip this summer, time your fill-ups to occur in states where prices are lower. For some, that may mean leaving home with a half tank of fuel, then filling up once crossing state lines. Even stopping a county or two away could save 10 cents or more per gallon.

Prepare your ride.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for the road ahead. This means a recent oil change with a new oil filter and an air filter is in order. Go minimalist and you won’t need to place anything on your roof or load down your trunk or cargo compartment. Wind drag reduces fuel economy as does excessive weight.

Drive smart.

On the highway, use cruise control. Keep your speed within the posted limit. Avoid jackrabbit stops and hard braking. When it comes time to fuel, use the recommended fuel grade. Notably, most vehicles that are not high performance can take regular-grade gasoline. In this case, you will pay about 50 cents less than the premium.

Make Your Plans

After a prolonged pandemic, Americans are eager to hit the road once again. And who can blame them? Likely, most will count the cost and go ahead with their plans. That is a reasonable and healthy response for people who simply want to live their lives.


References


(1) AAA. (2016). State Gas Price Averages – AAA Gas Prices. AAA Gas Prices. https://gasprices.aaa.com/state-gas-price-averages/

(2) Gas Price Surge Isn’t Over: $4/gal Could Happen in 2022 Before Any Relief Arrives – GasBuddy.com. (n.d.). Www.gasbuddy.com. Retrieved January 31, 2022, from https://www.gasbuddy.com/newsroom/pressrelease/1078

(3) Caldwell, A. A. (2021, November 21). Think Gas Prices Are Too High? In This California County, a Gallon Costs $6. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/think-gas-prices-are-too-high-in-this-california-county-a-gallon-costs-6-11637506800

(4) Board, P. E. (2021, November 10). Biden’s policies clearly drove gas prices up, but Democrats offer only bogus solutions. New York Post. https://nypost.com/2021/11/09/bidens-policies-clearly-drove-gas-prices-up-but-democrats-offer-only-bogus-solutions/


See Also8 Ways to Reduce Gas Consumption

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