BOSTON — GasBuddy on Wednesday predicted that 2019 will feature a yearly national average of $2.70 per gallon, representing a 3 cent drop versus 2018, but warns that the national average could surge to over $3 per gallon as soon as May.
Some highlights from GasBuddy’s 2019 Fuel Price Outlook include:
• The nation’s yearly gasoline bill will fall to $386 billion dollars, a drop of $2.5 billion over last year as the average household sees their annual gasoline spending fall slightly to $1,991, down $25 from 2018.
• 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.
• More than 90 percent of the country’s largest metro areas are at risk for seeing average prices hit $3 per gallon, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
• How accurate was GasBuddy’s 2018 Forecast? Assembled in late 2017, the forecast called for a yearly national average of $2.57 per gallon with a peak of $2.89 per gallon in April. 2018 ended with a yearly national average of $2.73 per gallon with a peak of $2.98 per gallon on May 24.
“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. 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,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said in a prepared statement.
One caveat however, that may have motorists unexpectedly spending less — is what happens in the White House in 2019, DeHaan said.
“Should all the darkest realities come to fruition, it could lead to slow down in the economy and take gas prices right along with it. As goes the economy, as go gas prices in the year ahead,” DeHaan said. “Buckle up for the extra volatility we’re going to see — it could be nauseating.”
For those making 2019 resolutions, GasBuddy suggests shopping around at the pump and driving less aggressively: the savings could add up to $477 per year, or roughly $10 per tank. In addition, motorists can use GasBuddy’s in-app Drives feature to help reduce their yearly fuel bill by showing them how their driving style stacks up.
- Gas Prices: Shutterstock