Why Are Gas Prices Rising Again?

By: James Flippin · April 17, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Prices Creeping Up

The cost of refilling your tank has likely been creeping up over the past few weeks. The trend is expected to continue to move up and to the right.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that gas prices will return to sky-high levels that we saw during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the national average was over $5 per gallon. But, even a small bump in the price of gas is worth paying attention to as it could add a little more strain on your budget.

OPEC’s Surprise Decision

The national average price for a gallon of gas is currently sitting at $3.62, according to the travel website AAA. This is up nearly 10 cents from a week ago.

Part of the reason for this spike is that OPEC, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries, recently reduced the amount of crude oil they’re exporting. This move caught the US, and the world, by surprise. Since crude oil is the main raw material to make gasoline, as worldwide supply shrinks, it will be more expensive to fill up your tank.

Heading into the Summer

As a general rule, gas prices tend to spike during the summer months as families fill up their tanks and head for the beach, Disney World (DIS), and other vacation destinations. This, coupled with a decreased supply of crude oil, means that the price of gas is unlikely to drop anytime soon. In fact, experts predict the national average price to surpass $4 per gallon over the next few weeks. Higher-cost states, such as California, could see $5 per gallon.

That said, any type of serious event, such as an accident at a US refinery or conflict in the Middle East, could send prices even higher. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to anticipate higher gas prices ahead and set your summer travel budget accordingly.

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