AAA, EIA predict higher gas prices this spring

By William Duffield bduffield@civitasmedia.com

February 7, 2014

XENIA — The prediction of future fill-up prices may not be very rosy. On Thursday, AAA released its 2014 Gas Price Forecast that calls for the cost per gallon in Ohio to soar to $3.50 to $3.70 this spring. The AAA predictions are in line with those made by the U. S. Energy Information Administration.

According to AAA Public Relations Specialist Cindy Antrican, “As AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team continues to help motorists with weather-related car problems, we’re also seeing the weather’s impact on how much drivers pay at the pump.”

Antrican said the increased number of winter storms has caused fewer people to drive, resulting in higher gasoline supplies throughout the country and lower prices. Nationally, the cost on Thursday was $3.27 per gallon. In the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana tri-state, the price is slightly lower than national averages at $3.25 per gallon.

Antrican said winter weather, weak demand and sufficient supplies should keep prices relatively low in the coming weeks.

Consumers should expect an increase in the months ahead, however. Seasonal refinery maintenance is expected to drive prices higher come spring. As that maintenance ends, prices should return to normal rates.

Springtime rates are predicted to stay below last year’s spring peak of $3.79 per gallon.

This year’s national average is expected to peak between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon, according to AAA. In Ohio, the average is expected to peak between $3.50 to $3.70 per gallon.

Although not making any predictions, AAA states that summer demand and the risk of hurricanes can also lead to higher gas prices in late July, August and early September.

The U. S. Energy Information Administration has projected the average retail price of regular grade gasoline for January-December of 2014 as $3.46. The EIA predicts prices nationally to average $3.52 in March, $3.55 in April, $3.60 in May, and $3.60 in June before beginning to drop again in July to $3.57, $3.54 in August and $3.51 in September.

The group predicts prices in drop during the fall, hitting $3.39 in October, $3.33 in November and closing out the year at $3.24.

In looking farther ahead, EIA predicts retail price to be $3.39 per gallon in 2015.

William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield