Gas prices expected to reach $3 a gallon this year

Gas prices are predicted to rise after months of low prices — even sometimes dropping below $2..

While gas prices are expected to stay low in the coming weeks, Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said they will slowly rise in February and March.

The national average is expected to reach $2.70 per gallon by the summer, DeHaan said,

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“The prices will spend probably 12 weeks rising,” DeHaan said.

Those prices could rise to nearly $3 in Ohio, DeHaan said, but he said it is unlikely prices will surpass $3.

“I don’t think we can quite get there,” DeHaan said.

Gas prices are volatile and can be affected by everything from a tariff battle with China to a tweet from Trump , DeHaan said.

DeHaan said added that 2019 was particularly difficult to predict due to the volatility.

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“It’s like shooting darts blind and hoping for a bullseye,” he said.

Still, he doesn’t expect 2019 will be very out of the ordinary as far as gas prices go.

“We’re not going to set any records in 2019,” DeHaan said.

DeHaan said higher gas prices tend to be a sign of a healthy economy. When an economy is healthy demand for gas is up and prices rise as a result.

Prices were generally low in 2016, 2017 and 2018 due to overproduction of oil by OPEC, but the 14-member oil production group has since slowed output.

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He blamed current low prices on what he called “doom and gloom,” spurred by fears of a trade war with China, increasing interest rates and actions by Saudi Arabia.

Even the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi has played into gas prices, DeHaan said.

Seasonal trends also have played a role in the current low gas prices, as winter months tend to generally have less travel and a decreased demand for gas compared to summer months.

Low gas prices could mean more travel and more expendable money for local residents.

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Kara Hitchens, the senior public and government affairs specialist for the Miami Valley AAA, said gas prices are expected to remain around current levels at least through mid January.

Hitchens said the AAA tends to more people traveling when prices are low, and more travel is expected if prices remain at current levels.

In 2018, the national average gas price was around $2.73 per gallon, peaking in May at $2.98 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

Hitchens said keeping up with regular maintenance and making sure tires are filled can save drivers money on gas.

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