By Mary Schimke | Shale Plays Media
Go ahead and hop in the car! Gassing up the car for summer road trips shouldn’t cost any more than last year, according to gasoline predictions by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Prices should stay steady at around $3.57 on average for the summer driving season, topping out in May at $3.66. The summer driving season runs from May through September. The average price of gas per gallon in summer 2013 varied only by a penny. After September, the EIA estimates that the price will fall, bringing the February through December 2014 average gasoline price down to $3.44 per gallon.
Consumers may see a slight increase over the Easter holiday weekend, jumping about a dime, but should drop back off when it’s time to head back to work on Tuesday barring any weather catastrophes or refinery issues.
May typically sees a higher price due to changeover of gasoline at the pumps to a summer blend, a pricier blend made with summer additives. Ethanol, an additive made from corn, is also more expensive due to poor corn yields last year. Scheduled refinery maintenance at some facilities in May can also be a variable, taking into consideration issues that could arise and cause a slight delay in distribution.Related: Crude weekly update
Despite booming oil production in the Bakken and Eagle Ford areas, imports have decreased so demand for gasoline is still steady, matching last year’s consumption. Consumers likely won’t see a break in price until after September.
In addition to weather and refinery issues, geography also affects the gap in gas prices across the country. High-profile vacation destinations typically see higher-than-average prices. Near cities like Chicago and New York City, prices average more. The west coast is notorious for its inflated gas prices. In California, drivers are currently paying as much as $4.69 per gallon.
Current gas prices in the shale plays as of Friday, April 18, 2014:
Williston, ND: $3.59
Fargo, ND: $3.42
Midland, TX: $3.45
Houston, TX: $3.29, some stations reporting as low as $3.19
Shreveport, LA: $3.39
Greeley, CO: $3.42 to $3.52, prices rising
Pittsburgh, PA: $3.59
Morgantown, WV: $3.59
Frackville, PA: $3.65
**Prices obtained via GasBuddy and vary a few cents per gallon between retail stations.