Gas prices projected to rise by 36 cents higher in 2017 |

Gas prices projected to rise by 36 cents higher in 2017

Nevada Appeal staff report

BOSTON — Motorists may realize sticker shock in 2017 when it comes to gas prices.

GasBuddy, an organization that projects and monitors gas prices, projects motorists will spend 36 cents more a gallon at the pump and are expected to shell out $52 billion more this year compared to 2016. GasBuddy’s 2017 Fuel Price Outlook projects this year’s average price will be $2.49 per gallon. Locally that would put the average price at about $2.65 a gallon.

It’s projected $355 billion will be spent on gasoline in the U.S. over the course of the year, In 2016, motorists spent $39 billion less on gas than in 2015.

The seasonal switch from ‘winter-blend’ to ‘summer-blend’ as mandated by EPA and the Clean Air Act will bring a spike at the pump later this winter and spring, with the national average gas price rising between 35-60 cents between mid-February and a peak, likely to occur in May.

Prices of$3 a gallon will be seen in at least the nation’s largest cities: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, with a strong possibility of such prices also appearing in a majority of the nation’s 20 largest metros.

“The list of factors being mixed into the yearly forecast has never been larger. This year will see a new administration take over, perhaps the most oil-friendly in some time, and with so many unknowns in regards to policy changes, we’ll be keeping a keen eye on such along with taxation changes. But forecasting fuel prices, especially this year, remains a challenging balance of science and art,” says Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

Additional components that have the potential to weigh on retail gasoline prices include federal and/or state tax changes, Middle East volatility, currency fluctuations, refinery maintenance and/or unscheduled outages, weather events, and shipping/transportation snafus.

“In recent years the ‘price at the pump’ continues to garner more media attention serving as an economic barometer on Main Street that stirs opinions from a broad swath of consumers from coast to coast,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst. “Forecasting the direction of that ‘barometer,’ the potential trouble-spots and how the trends are likely to translate into dollars and cents affords us the opportunity to share insights that help everyone save money, even when prices are climbing.”