When the oil market is complex (as it always is), stick to the things you can control to keep costs down, such as how much you drive and where you refuel.
What is the short-term outlook for gasoline prices?
It’s hard to shake the memory of June 2022 when the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was close to $5.
Jeffrey Barron, a senior oil analyst with the US Energy Information Administration, said this year was special for several reasons.
Several refineries have closed or been converted to produce renewable fuels during the pandemic, he said. Then, in early 2022, people started going out again. Vehicle traffic in March 2022 will be above pre-pandemic levels, according to Federal Road Administration data.
Barron notes that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the trade turmoil that followed the ban imposed have increased costs and overall market volatility.
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“So, at the same time as this kind of tight supply, demand came back in full force.”
of The price of gas has since fallenThe national average fell to $3.14 in mid-December, according to AAA. The EIA’s latest short-term energy outlook also predicts that the average price of regular-grade gas will be around $3.36 in the first quarter of 2023, lower than the previous year.
Why a rosy outlook? Barron said he expects increased refining capacity in the United States and abroad, along with lower refining costs.
Why do I see some prices rising more than others?
According to Barron, the rate of change in 2022 was particularly jarring. If you pay $3.50 one day and a few months later he’s over $5, it can take a toll on you financially and psychologically.
The good news is that the $1.50 per gallon price spike in the same year is quite unusual in the history of gasoline prices.
On the one hand, we are witnessing a whole new level of economic uncertainty since the pandemic began. With so many factors at work, expect the unexpected when it comes to gas.
How can I prevent future gas prices from becoming a factor in my budget?
Spend more on gas by focusing on the things you can control, like your financial choices and driving habits.
take care of your car
With prices skyrocketing in 2022, you may wish your car had a code, but wait patiently before signing up to pay for your car. Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based Qualified Financial His planner Jonathan Keel said:
Instead, spend the money you need to keep your current car in tip-top shape on regular maintenance, suggests Keel. Something as simple as regular oil and air filter changes, and tire pressure adjustments Easy way to save money on gasSmall fluctuations in gas prices become more manageable with more miles per gallon.
run errands to avoid unnecessary trips
Need to go to the grocery store today? Plan ahead and use your trip to return that Amazon package and receive dry cleaning as well. Stack multiple errands in one trip so you don’t have to tread miles later. It may sound simplistic, but these habits lead to poor fuel economy.
Use membership clubs when it matters most
Kiel said paying for a Warehouse Club membership (that is, spending money to save money) at places like Costco and BJ might seem counterintuitive, but these The gas savings that come with clubbing, especially for buying other goods already there. His family says they were saving about 20 cents per gallon at some point last summer.
Popular grocery chains such as Safeway and Kroger have gas stations at select locations that allow you to redeem free points earned on food purchases. Kroger’s points also work on participating shell stations. The key here is to save on refilling when the tank is low so you can get the most out of your per gallon discount.
Check the gas price of your destination
It’s time to stop passing gas stations passively. I advise you to pay attention to the prices on the signs. And if you find a good deal, restock now to protect yourself from the next day’s unexpected increase.
also, gas app Like GasBuddy or Google Maps, you can check station fares before you drive. Driving across state or city lines? See gas prices for your current location and destination. Then plan to fill up in the cheapest town.
Gig workers and other frequent drivers might also consider a gas credit card that pays a percentage of their fuel purchases.
ask for a commute break
The biggest savings come from traveling less. in recent years, Telecommuting demand increased significantly. If being remote works for your job, it may be time to seek a little flexibility.
“If it’s not something that’s brought into the company, I encourage people to have that kind of conversation to see if it’s an option,” Keel says.
We hope your employer will be happy to work with you to help ease the burden of high commuting costs.
The article “Ask the Geek: How Can I Worry Less About the Future of Gas Prices?” first appeared on NerdWallet.