Speed Reads

The Pump

Americans have enjoyed cheap gas for years. That will change this summer.

Rising oil prices will translate into higher U.S. gas prices this summer driving season, private analysts and the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) project. Average gas prices are currently $2.81 per gallon, up from $2.39 a year ago, with people on the West Coast paying more and those on the East Coast a little less, according to the Oil Price Information Service. "This will be the most expensive driving season since 2014," Tom Kloza, the service's global head of energy analysis, tells The Associated Press. Gas prices typically rise every April through Memorial Day, as Americans hit the road, then slowly ease downward through September; April already marked a record high for U.S. consumer gas demand, the EIA says.

The EIA estimates that regular gas prices will average $2.74 a gallon this summer, up from $2.41 last summer, and an average of $2.76 a gallon for all of 2018, which translates to an extra $190 for the average U.S. household. But in 2008, when crude oil prices shot up above $130 a barrel, gas hit $4.11 per gallon, and just five years ago, drivers were paying an average of $3.60 at the pump. Crude prices are currently about $68 a barrel. "People forget very, very quickly," Kloza said.

Oil prices are up because of increasing global demand tied to economic expansion plus production cuts from OPEC nations. "The good news is, both at the global level and the U.S. level, this is occurring at a time when growth is fairly robust," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit, tells AP. "But consumers as whole will be hurt, mostly because gasoline prices are going up."