Fuel Prices Expected to 4-Year High in ’18, Station Price Spread Reaches Record Levels

Fuel Prices Expected to 4-Year High in ’18, Station Price Spread Reaches Record Levels

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GasBuddy, whose crowdsourced app data puts them in a unique position to analyze fuel prices nationwide, has predicted that gasoline will rise 19 cents over last year’s $2.57 per gallon average.

That’s the highest since 2014, according to the 2018 Fuel Price Outlook released today. GasBuddy does not expect any record-breaking prices to be set in 2018, however, and most of the country will see prices peak under $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions could change things at any time.

“Many will be quick to ask why we’re expecting higher prices. Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production, leading oil inventories to begin 2018 nearly 50 million barrels lower than a year ago. Yet, understanding many factors, including OPEC, fuel taxes, the economy and their impact on supply and demand is integral to providing a thorough and balanced outlook on gas prices for 2018,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Even one event can completely change trajectory of fuel prices for months. Look what impact Hurricane Harvey and Irma had on gas prices and availability. No one could have expected the unexpected, but still, our forecast was less than a dime away from being spot on.”

“While gasoline prices overall remain affordable, one aspect that continues to worsen is the gap between what stations are charging. It’s become nothing short of crazy how one station might sell gasoline 20-40 cents lower or higher than a nearby competitor. In addition to GasBuddy data showing spreads have risen to record levels, I’ve heard hundreds of complaints of motorists who get stuck at the pricier station, drive down the street and see it far cheaper. Always shop around when filling your tank. We spend thousands of dollars a year filling the tank, a dime or quarter per gallon adds up to hundreds of dollars,” he said.

Though the report doesn’t break down diesel data, GasBuddy predicts that diesel fuel will be up about 5 cents on average over the course of the year. That’s actually good news for RVers. Diesel prices have not recovered from hurricane season, and we are currently seeing much higher diesel prices than this time last year. A 5 cent annual increase means that diesel prices may drop significantly by the summer.

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Jason Epperson

Jason travels the country full-time with his wife Abigail, and three children in a converted school bus.

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