(AAA news release) Many drivers may pay rising gas prices this spring as refineries conduct seasonal maintenance, but the peak may be less expensive than last year. The national average price of gas could reach an estimated $3.55-$3.75 per gallon, according to an AAA news release issued Thursday.
“Winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies have kept gas prices relatively low recently, but this trend may not last much longer,” Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA, said in a news release. “Driving to the gas station could be a lot more frustrating as prices increase this spring.”
Prices generally rise in the spring because many refineries cut production to conduct seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline supplies and cause market uncertainty. This maintenance generally takes place between strong demand periods for heating oil in the winter and gasoline in the summer, and before the regulated switchover to summer-blend gasoline. This switchover process itself can further limit supplies and increase pump prices. Last year the national average increased 49 cents per gallon over 41 days before peaking at $3.79 per gallon on Feb. 27. Gas prices similarly increased 56 cents per gallon in spring 2012 and 86 cents per gallon in 2011.
“There is a good chance that average gasoline prices this year will cost less than in 2013, but it is not going to be cheap,” continued Darbelnet. “The expected springtime rise in gas prices likely will be temporary, but that will not make it any easier to pay $60 or more to fill up your car.”