Summer vacation season still may be weeks away, but some experts are already contending that it will be an expensive one for American motorists, along with those wishing to fly.
The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline rose slightly on Friday to $4.15, according to data from AAA, and that upward trend is expected to continue in the weeks ahead. As reported by Fox Business, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, Patrick De Haan, has issued an outlook of what gas prices might look like over the summer months—and it doesn’t look pretty.
According to his estimates, the national average price for a gallon of gas will likely hover between $4.18 and $4.25. More specifically, in a recent tweet, he stood by projections that he made last month—$4.21 for June, $4.18 for July, and $4.23 for August. For the entire year, the average gas price comes out to $3.99.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting that gas prices will average $3.84 per gallon across the country this summer. Similar sentiments were shared by Andrew Gross, a AAA spokesperson. “As long as the price of oil stays elevated, the price at the pump will struggle to fall,” he said in a statement. “Consumers may be catching a little break from March’s record-high prices, but don’t expect any dramatic drops.”
De Haan told Fox on Thursday that there are still “high levels of uncertainty” regarding gas prices largely due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, surging coronavirus cases, and the resulting city-wide lockdowns seen in China. According to energy analyst Helima Croft, “the question is the duration of the war.” She told CBS News that “we had … an oil market that was already fairly tight in terms of supply and demand at the start of the year. We had optimism about a recovery from COVID, people were driving to work.”
Amid high gas prices and other inflationary pressures, it appears that travelers are being forced to rethink their summer vacation plans as well. According to an online poll conducted by Bankrate.com, nearly 70 percent of adults who say they will take a vacation this summer anticipate changing their travel plans due to high inflation. The top changes include taking fewer trips and traveling shorter distances.
Still, the survey revealed that pent-up demand stemming from the pandemic will likely win over higher prices this summer. “After being cooped up for a couple of years because of COVID, people are ready to get back out there this summer, even if it means paying higher prices and potentially cutting into their savings or taking on debt,” Ted Rossman, Bankrate’s senior industry analyst, explained in a statement.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.