Gas prices could rise above $3 per gallon, according to AAA.
AAA said higher crude oil prices and an increase in demand for gas along with higher-priced summer blends of gas could increase prices by summer.
More people driving to travel and a possible an increase in travel as more people get coronavirus vaccines would influence higher gas prices, according to AAA.
“A combination of variables will ultimately determine just how high gas prices go,” Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford, said in a statement. “If and when demand for travel increases, especially during the summer months, we could see higher pump prices than we have seen in some time.”
In Connecticut, the average price per gallon is $2.59, which has increased four cents in a week, 16 cents in a month, and four cents higher than this date last year.
The national average is $2.52, which is up five cents in the past week, 14 cents in a month and eight cents higher than last year on this date.
California, the state that typically has the highest gas prices in the country, is already seeing gas prices over $3, with an average of $3.48 cents a gallon.
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Gas Prices By the Numbers:
- Oct. 31, 2014: The last time the country saw a national average pump price at $3 gallon
- $4.17: The highest-ever national average was $4.17 in July 2008
- $140: The price of a barrel of crude oil in July 2008
- $59: The price of a barrel of crude oil now
- May 11, 2019: The last time Connecticut saw the average price of gas over $3 per gallon
Parmenter said the price of crude has been the driving factor in rising pump prices, not demand, which has been at its lowest for the first six weeks of the year in two decades.
“But that could certainly change in the coming months,” she said.
AAA said the price of crude is still $10 to $12 per barrel less than when the national average was last near $3 per gallon in 2018. In order for prices to be that expensive again this spring or summer, AAA believes that a major spike in demand, returning to normal peak driving season levels, and crude sustaining at very high prices will be required.
Top 10 Largest Monthly Increases:
- Idaho: +20 cents
- Wisconsin: +19 cents
- Illinois: +19 cents
- Utah: +18 cents
- Nebraska: +18 cents
- Missouri: +17 cents
- Connecticut: +16 cents
- Oklahoma: +17 cents)
- West Virginia: +16 cents
- Florida: +16 cents
AAA added that frigid and icy weather in the Southwest has taken 2 million barrels per day of refining capacity off-line and shuttered approximately 1 million barrels per day of crude production in the region.