Gas

Gas prices are higher now than they were last Christmas, according to a T&D at-the-pump survey of Orangeburg-area stations.

GENE ZALESKI, T&D

BOSTON – Motorists will be digging a bit deeper for the second straight year as the yearly national average will rise 19 cents vs. last year to $2.57 per gallon, the highest since 2014, according to the 2018 Fuel Price Outlook released by GasBuddy, the smartphone app.

Some highlights from GasBuddy’s 2018 Fuel Price Outlook include:

• The nation’s yearly gasoline bill will rise to $364.6 billion, some $25 billion higher than what motorists spent last year as the average household sees the yearly gasoline bill rise to $1,898, up from $1,765 in 2017. Compared to 2016, motorists will be shelling out $62 billion more during the year, enough to buy a fleet of 670 Boeing 737s.

• GasBuddy’s forecast does not expect any record-breaking prices to be set in 2018, and most of the country will see prices peak under $3 per gallon, but unexpected disruptions could push the national average close to $3.

• In 2017, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.49. Actual: $2.39. In 2016, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.28. Actual: $2.12.

“Many will be quick to ask why we’re expecting higher prices. Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production, leading oil inventories to begin 2018 nearly 50 million barrels lower than a year ago. Yet understanding many factors ... is integral to providing a thorough and balanced outlook on gas prices for 2018,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

“While gasoline prices overall remain affordable, one aspect that continues to worsen is the gap between what stations are charging. It’s become nothing short of crazy how one station might sell gasoline 20-40 cents lower or higher than a nearby competitor."

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