Metro-East News

‘Party at the pump’ will likely end soon as gas prices expected to surge, analyst says

Commuters talk about the drop in gas prices in west Belleville

Gas has dropped to $1.99 in West Belleville where commuters were busy filling up early Friday morning. But don't expect the sale to last long, experts say.
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Gas has dropped to $1.99 in West Belleville where commuters were busy filling up early Friday morning. But don't expect the sale to last long, experts say.

Enjoying those bargain prices at the pump in recent weeks? You’re not alone — but those prices might not be around for too much longer.

While gas prices have plummeted in recent weeks, GasBuddy officials warned the public Wednesday that prices could surge to over $3 per gallon as soon as May.

“While the bargain basement gas prices we’ve been seeing in areas across the country have been terrific and most welcomed, the party at the pump will likely wrap up in the next month or two, and prices will begin to rally as OPEC production cuts and a strong U.S. economy push gas prices back up,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a news release.

GasBuddy analysts predict 2019 will see a national average of $2.70 per gallon.

“The national average is forecast to rise as much as $1 per gallon from a low in January to a possible peak in May, but economic jitters could weigh heavily on where gas prices go in 2019,” the release stated.

The news release continued to state that in 2017, Gasbuddy’s forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.57 per gallon with a peak of $2.89 per gallon in April 2018. The year ended with a national average of $2.73 per gallon with a peak of $2.98 per gallon on May 24.

According to GasBuddy, the lowest gas price Wednesday in Missouri was $1.60 a gallon in Arnold and in Illinois it was $1.59 in Homer Glen, a village near Chicago. Here are GasBuddy’s prices for local areas:

$1.95 to $2.01 a gallon in Belleville

$2.00 a gallon in Marissa

$2.05 a gallon in Freeburg

$2.00 a gallon in New Athens

$2.07 to $2.09 a gallon in Lebanon

In Missouri, where the state’s gas tax is lower, some stations are selling gasoline 10-15 cents lower than in Illinois.

Analysts say over 90 percent of the country’s largest metro areas may average prices hit $3 per gallon. Those areas include: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C

“While the national average failed to hit $3 last year, we have an even stronger possibility of seeing that ugly possibility, which would push prices in some places from $1.99 today to over $3 this spring — which would be an impressive and shocking turnaround in just a few months,” DeHaan said in the release.

DeHaan said that one caveat to consider is what happens in the White House, which could lead to a slow down in the economy and a drop in gas prices.

GasBuddy is a company that crowdsources information and provides real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas station convenience stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

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Belleville News-Democrat news editor Dana Rieck was selected as Editor and Publisher’s “25 Under 35 Newspaper Leaders” for 2018 and works with the Online News Association in St. Louis. She attended Colorado State University and grew up in Loveland, Colorado.


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