BOSTON – Motorists will be digging a bit deeper for the second straight year as the yearly national average is predicted to rise 19 cents versus last year to $2.57 per gallon, the highest since 2014, according to the 2018 Fuel Price Outlook released by GasBuddy, the smartphone app that connects 70 million drivers to gas stations nearby.
The GasBuddy’s 2018 Fuel Price Outlook highlights the nation’s yearly gasoline bill, which is predicted to rise to $364.6 billion, some $25 billion higher than what motorists spent last year as the average household sees their yearly gasoline bill rise to $1,898, up from $1,765 in 2017. Compared to 2016, motorists will likely be shelling out $62 billion more during 2018 or enough to buy a fleet of 670 Boeing 737s.
GasBuddy’s forecast does not expect any record-breaking prices to be set in 2018, and most of the country will see prices peak under $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions could push the national average close to $3.
Metro areas including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and the District of Columbia will likely see prices eclipse $3 per gallon. Cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa may get within arm’s reach of such prices, the price outlook said.
“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,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said. “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.”
In 2017, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.49, and the actual average was $2.39. In 2016, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.28, and the actual average was $2.12.
“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,” DeHaan said. “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.”
GasBuddy is a smartphone app connecting drivers with their “Perfect Pit Stop.” With 70 million downloads, GasBuddy is the leader in crowd-sourced information to help drivers find the best gas prices, closest stations, friendliest service, cleanest restrooms, tastiest coffee and much more. GasBuddy is the leading source for the most accurate, real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The company’s B2B Retailer Software-as-a-Service, known as GasBuddy Business Pages, provides fuel marketers and retailers their best opportunity to maintain their station information, manage their brand and promote to their target consumer audience.