It’s a seasonal event, and there are reasons why this happens every year.
According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge report, average fuel prices this summer will hover between $3.55 and$3.70 per gallon, up from last summer.
Supply and demand is a factor—after a hard winter, many Americans are eager to hit the road. But that’s only part of the problem.
The gas we use between May and September is different than so-called “winter-grade fuel.”
Emissions increase in warm weather, so summer fuel has a lower volatility.
Processing it makes the fuel more expensive.
Unfortunately, summer fuel gets lower mileage, which means even more people at the pump.
This year, some refineries are sending more gas outside of the U.S., which means less inventory stateside.
Unpredictable factors can also send prices skyrocketing, like problems at a single refinery, hurricane damage, or even diplomatic tensions between countries.
My advice: keep your eye on trends, and be aware that prices tend to drop back down in September.
Use GasBuddy.com to find the cheapest gas in your area, and keep your car optimized for the best fuel efficiency.
For more information, visit the Car Travel archives.
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