A recent AAA survey found that nearly a quarter of consumers believe gas prices are too high. We have bad news for these people: both AAA and GasBuddy project gas prices to continue to increase throughout the summer.

AAA Survey Findings

The American Automobile Association, the organization you probably know better as AAA, recently conducted a survey. They asked over 1,000 adults 18 and older about gas prices. Nearly 25% of respondents said they believe gasoline prices are too high.

These people are in for a rude awakening in the near future because AAA projects gas prices to keep getting higher. The organization expects the national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline to increase 40 cents this summer alone. If it does peak near the $2.70 mark that AAA projects, that would be about a 70 cent increase from 2016 prices at that time.

If the results of the AAA survey are to be believed, and this many consumers actually believe that gas prices are too high as they stand, then consumers need a reality check. Gas prices have been exceptionally low since late 2014.

gas prices

As you can see on the chart from fuel-price tracker GasBuddy.com, Americans have been enjoying low prices at the pump for a while now. It was only a matter of time until prices started to creep back up, and AAA believes that will happen this summer.

Why Gas Prices are on the Rise

gas pricesMany areas of the country are already starting to see gas prices climb. Over the past week, the national average for a gallon of unleaded gas jumped 6.7 cents to $2.396, according to GasBuddy.

According to both AAA and GasBuddy, fuel prices are now the highest they've been since June of last year. Both of these organizations believe all signs point to continued price hikes in the summer.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Gas prices get higher every spring/summer. The EPA requires refineries to use a summer blend of gasoline in the warmer months. The summer-blend gas is more expensive, but it burns cleaner, making it important for the travel-heavy summertime. Refineries have until May 1st to switch to summer-blend gasoline.
  • Oil prices have rebounded in recent weeks. According to GasBuddy, oil is now $5 more per barrel than it was just a few weeks ago. They point to this as the main culprit for rising gas prices.
  • A few other minor reasons include: inventory stock at refineries is beginning to slip, and ongoing difficulties and/or overhauls at some refineries have caused complications.

For these reasons, many areas of the country have already seen gas prices climb. Both AAA and GasBuddy project that trend to continue throughout the summer. However, GasBuddy calls these increases seasonal in nature and expects prices to drop again later in the year after the travel-crazy summer months end.

Tips to Counter Higher Gas Prices

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of gas you use.

  • Watch your driving habits. Speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking can all decrease your fuel economy.
  • Avoid excessive idling by always turning your car off when you are parked and finding routes that avoid stop-and-go traffic.
  • Try not to carry any excess weight and always keep your tires properly inflated.
  • Be more mindful. Try to combine errands or trips to knock them all out in one go. You could also try to set up a carpooling system with coworkers for your job and/or with fellow parents for getting the kids to school.

These tips and tricks can help you get the most out of the miles you drive. But maybe your car just isn't cutting it in the fuel economy department and it's time for a new one.

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