GasBuddy Warns 2018 Gas Prices Will Be Highest Since 2014

Posted On: 1/4/2018

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BOSTON -- Motorists will be digging a bit deeper for the second straight year as the yearly national average will rise 19¢ versus last year to $2.57 per gallon. That's the highest since 2014, according to GasBuddy's 2018 Fuel Price Outlook. 

With a reported 70 million downloads, GasBuddy uses crowd-sourced information to help drivers find the best gas prices, closest stations, friendliest service, cleanest restrooms, tastiest coffee and more. The app provides real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

According to GasBuddy's 2018 Fuel Price Outlook, the nation's yearly gasoline bill will rise to $364.6 billion dollars, some $25 billion higher than what motorists spent last year as the average household sees their yearly gasoline bill rise to $1,898, up from $1,765 in 2017. Compared with 2016, motorists will be shelling out $62 billion more during the year.

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

Metro areas including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC, will likely see prices eclipse $3 per gallon, according to GasBuddy's forecast. Cities such as Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis, Orlando, St. Louis and Tampa may get within arm's reach of such prices.

How accurate have GasBuddy's past forecasts been? 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," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Yet, understanding many factors, including OPEC, fuel taxes, the economy and their impact on supply and demand is integral to providing a thorough and balanced outlook on gas prices for 2018." 

He pointed out that even one event -- like Hurricane Harvey and Irma -- can completely change trajectory of fuel prices for months. 

"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¢ to 40¢ lower or higher than a nearby competitor," DeHaan added. "Always shop around when filling your tank. We spend thousands of dollars a year filling the tank, a dime or quarter per gallon adds up to hundreds of dollars."