Volatile Gas Market Points to Higher Prices

Prices at the pump are giving consumers sticker shock in the best way possible, but this “Christmas in July” may be short lived, according to AAA. This year, the highest national average gas price was the $2.42 recorded in March and the low was the $2.23 witnessed in June, a time when consumers typically see gas prices soaring.

“While current gas prices are cheaper than at the beginning of the year, recent increases in the price of oil and gasoline futures point to higher prices to come,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “If demand stays on pace, North Dakota motorists will likely see the statewide average gas prices move north of $2.32 through the end of the summer before dipping again after Labor Day.”  While pump prices could increase 10 to 15 cents in the coming days, there is a strong chance motorists will find gasoline for less than current averages at some point in the second half of 2017, said LaDoucer.

Today’s Price

Today’s national average gas price is $2.28, which is one cent less than one month and nine cents more than one year ago. Consumers can find gas for $2.25 or less at 57 percent of gas stations across the country. More so, 40 percent or more of gas stations in nine states are selling a gallon of unleaded gasoline for $2.00 or less: South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Only two percent of all gas stations in the country are selling gas for $3.00 or more.

In North Dakota today’s average is $2.23, four cents less than one month ago and a penny less than one year ago. Several stations in the Fargo area have a posted price under $2, though the metro-wide average is $2.02. This year’s highest daily average in North Dakota is $2.36, a level hit in both April and June.

Trends and Analysis

Crude oil prices, rig count and growth in production are three major factors that have driven gasoline prices in 2017. Top trends and analysis include:


The Outliers

Two events could cause prices to shoot up fast and furiously in late summer: hurricanes and exports.

  Fall Forecast

Brisk summer driving season demand should give way to consumption that may be flat or fall short of autumn and winter 2016 levels. Consumers can expect the average prices for gasoline the second half of the year (July – December) to be under $2.25 gallon, less than the average from first half of the year ($2.32 gallon). In North Dakota the average for the first half of the year the year was $2.30. This year’s highest daily average in North Dakota is $2.36, a level hit in both April and June.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.



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