American drivers have gotten used to relatively low gasoline prices, but that will probably change, according to CNN.
Crude oil prices are rising after attacks on oil fields in Saudi Arabia in mid September.
Experts say consumers may begin to notice higher prices soon, but the increases may be minimal. Gas prices probably won’t climb high enough to substantially hurt the US economy.
The current average price for a gallon of gas nationwide is $2.56, according to AAA.
That’s down from nearly $2.64 a month ago, $2.85 during the same time last year and the most recent peak of near $3 a gallon from May 2018, AAA said.
Prices typically peak for the year during the summer, when people tend to drive more, and head lower toward the end of the year.
Jeanette Casselano, a spokesperson for AAA, said that might not happen this year. The sudden jump in oil prices above $60 a barrel means gas prices are expected to start rising within a few days, she said. How high they go and how long they remain elevated will depend a lot on how quickly Saudi Arabia is able to get production back on line.
Any increase in gas prices at this time of the year is relatively uncommon, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, a firm that has an app that helps people track gas prices at individual stations in real time.
DeHaan notes that most gas stations are beginning to transition to a winter blend of gasoline, which is cheaper to produce and costs less at the pump. But because of the attack on Saudi oil assets, DeHaan estimates that gas prices could climb anywhere from 10 cents to 25 cents a gallon over the next few weeks.
He expects many gas stations would spread out any price hikes over a period of time — a couple of pennies per day for about two weeks — so it doesn’t come as a sudden surprise to consumers.
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