Motorists may get some sticker shock in 2017 and will shell out $52 billion more over the course of the year compared to 2016 as the national yearly average rises to $2.49 per gallon, according to GasBuddy’s 2017 Fuel Price Outlook.
Aside from gasoline prices that are forecast to be higher than 2016, highlights include:
- $355 billion will be spent on gasoline in the U.S. over the course of the year, $52 billion more than last year. That’s a considerable jump given that motorists saved $39 billion on gasoline in 2016 versus 2015.
- The seasonal switch from “winter-blend” to “summer-blend” as mandated by EPA and the Clean Air Act will bring a spike at the pump later this winter and spring, with the national average gas price rising between 35-60 cents between mid-February and a peak, likely to occur in May.
- $3 a gallon gasoline will be seen in at least the nation’s largest cities: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Seattle, with a strong possibility of such prices also appearing in a majority of the nation’s twenty largest metros.
“The list of factors being mixed into the yearly forecast has never been larger. This year will see a new administration take over, perhaps the most oil-friendly in some time, and with so many unknowns in regards to policy changes, we’ll be keeping a keen eye on such along with taxation changes. But forecasting fuel prices, especially this year, remains a challenging balance of science and art,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.
Additional components that have the potential to weigh on retail gasoline prices include federal and/or state tax changes, Middle East volatility, currency fluctuations, refinery maintenance and/or unscheduled outages, weather events, and shipping / transportation snafus.
“In recent years the ‘price at the pump’ continues to garner more media attention serving as an economic barometer on Main Street that stirs opinions from a broad swath of consumers from coast to coast,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst. “Forecasting the direction of that ‘barometer’, the potential trouble-spots and how the trends are likely to translate into dollars and cents affords us the opportunity to share insights that help everyone save money, even when prices are climbing.”