Prices at the pump have been on the rise. Will they continue going up or will gas prices drop?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into where gas prices are going to go in the coming months. We will also share some ways to save on gas from money expert Clark Howard.
Why Are Gas Prices So High?
Gas prices have been ticking upward as the summer travel season has driven demand for fuel, which is usually the case. But there are still two factors at play that are keeping prices inflated after Labor Day:
Demand Still High
“Gasoline usually peaks the second week in July and then starts trending back down,” Clark says. This year may be a little different.
Citing new data, AAA says that gas demand surged from 9.07 to 9.32 million barrels a day (b/d) in early September 2023.
While travel demand typically softens significantly when the kids go back to school, gas app GasBuddy has forecast a regional price bubble in America’s heartland that may increase prices up to $1 a gallon.
Supply Still Tight
Key members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have vowed to continue to pull back on oil production. On Sept. 5, Saudi Arabia announced that it would be extending its voluntary oil production cuts through the end of 2023.
Along with tighter supply, AAA reports that crude oil prices have risen of late, which refineries have no problem passing on to the consumer.
According to AAA (map below), gas prices are trending about where they were last year at this time, but are higher than they were the previous few years.
Screenshot via aaa.com
When Will Gas Prices Go Down?
This year, more than any other in recent memory, there are no guarantees as to when gas prices will go down.
“We are spectators with what happens with the price of gasoline,” Clark says. “It went way up when Russia invaded Ukraine. Now with OPEC manipulating supply, we’re seeing prices rise.”
“The road ahead could lead to higher prices,” Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said in a news release in late August. “Ongoing concerns regarding potential storm activity could hinder falling pump prices this fall.”
Wall Street is duly concerned that weather could wreak havoc on gas prices.
“Two Category 3 or higher hurricanes landing on US shores could massively disrupt supplies for not weeks but months,” Citigroup analysts wrote to clients recently, according to CNN.
Stubborn Crude Oil Prices
According to the Energy Information Administration, oil prices are expected to steadily rise through the end of the year and into 2024 as supply fails to meet demand.
“We forecast higher crude oil prices in the second half of 2023 and into 2024,” the agency says in a recent report, “because of moderate but persistent inventory drawdowns.”
What Is the Average Price of Gas Right Now?
Gas prices around the nation are averaging $3.80 per gallon, according to AAA.com. Here’s a look at what Americans are paying at the pump.
Screenshot via aaa.com on September 8, 2023
With gas prices being what they are, Clark says it is especially important to avoid overspending. Here are some tips to save money on gas.
How To Spend Less on Gas Right Now
1. Cut Down on Idling Your Engine
It may be normal for you to idle your engine before you start your drive, especially in cold weather. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you’re wasting money.
“Idling can use a quarter to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner use, adding up to three cents of wasted fuel a minute,” the agency says.
2. Don’t Speed
Lowering your speed can translate into savings at the pump, according to the federal government’s 2023 Fuel Economy Guide.
“Aggressive driving (speeding and rapid acceleration/braking) can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15%–30% at highway speeds and 10%–40% in stop-and-go traffic,” the guide says.
You can look up a more personalized estimate of your vehicle’s fuel economy on the website’s Find Your Car page.
3. Download Gas Apps
Clark is a fan of using gas apps to help you find the cheapest prices in your area.
“If you use an app like GasBuddy, you’re able to see right on your phone right near where you are the cheapest price for a gallon of gas,” Clark says.
We also have a full review on the Upside app to help you save on gas.
Clark says no matter what you pay for gas, be mindful that it will cost you more if you let your tank get low. To avoid paying an even higher price for gas out of desperation, try to keep plenty of gas in your tank.
How are gas prices affecting your wallet? Tell us about gas prices in your area in our Clark.com Community.