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JERSEY CITY, N.J. – With 2013 underway, gasoline price analysts at GasBuddy and AAA have begun to release their yearly forecasts. Predictions include monthly highs and lows as well as an overall look ahead at the new year.
In the "GasBuddy Fuel Price Outlook 2013" report, Senior Petroleum Analysts Patrick DeHaan and Gregg Laskoski predict that April will see the highest fuel prices for the year, with a median of $3.95 per gallon, and January will see the lowest at a median of $3.29.
"The saying goes that all you can be sure of in life is death and taxes. I’d add the seasonal run-up in gas prices every spring as something I’m sure of in life," said DeHaan.
Significant volatility is likely to occur from April 1 through May 15 due to refineries beginning production of summer gasoline and performing maintenance; Aug. 1 through Sept. 15 due to hurricane season; and Oct. 15 through Nov. 15 due to winter gasoline phase-in and further refinery maintenance.
"A good year for many of us will simply mean the absence of new record high gasoline prices," stated Laskoski.
Meanwhile, AAA predicts that increased domestic oil production and lower demand will result in lower prices than 2012 and a national average of $3.60 to $3.80 per gallon, barring any significant unexpected events. The peak national average of 2012 was $3.94 per gallon.
"Cheaper gas prices are good news for the millions of Americans that depend on their car to travel where they need to go," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet stated. "Lower gasoline prices should translate into billions of dollars in tangible household savings given that the vast majority of Americans rely on automobiles to live their lives."
AAA also predicts that gasoline prices will rise steadily through April or May, but at a slower pace than 2012. Additionally, prices should drop during the first half of the summer, and end the year by falling to low or near-low averages for the year, according to AAA's report.
"Absent significant storms, majors wars or production and distribution outages, the single largest factor that will influence gasoline prices in 2013 will be the strength of the U.S. economy," Darbelnet added. "Stronger than expected growth in the economy would result in higher oil and gasoline prices in anticipation of higher consumption, while a weaker than expected economy would drive prices downwards. Inaction by Congress to reach a debt deal in two months also would result in increased concern about the U.S. economy and could lead to lower gasoline prices."