CARS.COM — Pump prices climbed by double digits in several states the past week as $2 gas became just a memory for more motorists across the country. A week ago, regular gas averaged less than $2 a gallon in six states, but the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Thursday said that now there is none. The lowest statewide average price is $2.03, shared by Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri — the first time since the Labor Day weekend that no state has averaged less than $2.
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AAA said the national average for regular gas was $2.26 a gallon on Thursday, up 6 cents from a week ago and the highest it has been since October. Premium gas averaged $2.72 a gallon nationally, and diesel fuel averaged $2.25, a penny less than regular.
Fires have crippled oil production in Alberta, Canada, a main source of oil for Midwest refineries, and that has driven up pump prices sharply. Prices jumped by 10 cents the past week in Iowa and Kansas, 15 cents in Kentucky, 18 cents in Michigan, 20 cents in Indiana and 21 cents in Ohio.
With the loss of production in Canada and conflicts in North Africa reducing output there, the price of oil has increased in recent weeks. U.S. crude oil was trading at around $47 a barrel on Thursday, the highest it’s been since early October.
All of this is happening just as millions plan to hit the road for the Memorial Day weekend, but instead of feeling bad about the rising price of gas, GasBuddy.com senior analyst Patrick DeHaan suggests Americans have a good time now because gas is bound to become more expensive in the future.
DeHaan predicts that gas could be 50 cents higher a year from now.
“It has been a decent year to hit the road thus far, and as we near the beginning of the summer driving season, it should be made abundantly clear: This summer will likely be the cheapest summer at the pump in the last decade or longer, and by next summer, gasoline prices will likely have rebounded,” DeHaan said in a statement.
“I don’t see our current environment of a healthy economy and low gas prices repeating itself again soon, so my advice to motorists is simple: Don’t delay your summer travel plans,” he said.
GasBuddy expects the national average for regular will be $2.29 a gallon by Memorial Day, the lowest in at least eight years. Regular gas has averaged $3.15 on Memorial Day during the past decade, and between 2011 and 2014 it ranged from $3.63 to $3.78.
California continues to have the most-expensive gas, with a statewide average of $2.80 a gallon for regular, but motorists there are still better off than a year ago when the price was $3.81. At this time last year the average price for regular gas in the Los Angeles area was $4.
While pump prices climbed in most states the past week, California’s average price was unchanged and has gone up only a penny over the past seven weeks. The national average for regular has increased 20 cents over the same period.