UPDATE: Wednesday, January 9, 2013
You may end up spending less on gas this year than you did in 2012 if a AAA price forecast for the year holds true.
The forecast predicts the peak average price of regular unleaded gasoline in 2013 will be lower than the peak average of 2012.
Unleaded prices at many gas stations in the Wichita area dropped to $2.99 per gallon Tuesday evening. Even before that drop, they were already below the average for this time last year.
It doesn't take long for most drivers to spend a few hundred dollars a month on gasoline.
Dustin Whitley of Jamestown, Kan., estimates he and his wife spend at least $250 per month on gasoline. Rebecca McBroom of Wichita said she and her husband spend close to $500 because of all the driving that comes with having children.
"School, home, doctor's appointments, all kinds of stuff; just going to the store," she said, describing her monthly driving. "It really does take a toll on your finances."
Long commutes can take a toll on bank accounts, too. That is the case with Whitley's wife.
"We live north of Salina about an hour and she commutes to Salina every day, so we spend a little bit on gas," he said.
A bit of relief may be on the way this year. The AAA forecast predicts 2013's peak gas price to be lower than 2012's peak.
Last year, the national average price topped out at $3.94 per gallon for regular unleaded. This year's peak should be between $3.60 and $3.80 per gallon, AAA said.
Whitley said he will believe the forecast when he sees lower prices. He also pointed out higher gas prices mean higher prices for most other goods.
"When our food has to travel 1,200 miles or whatever it is to get to the grocery store, they just pass it off on the customer," he said. "Everything goes up."
McBroom and her husband hope they will be able to bring back some of the things high gas prices forced them to cut out.
"Long trips, seeing family from out of town, not eating out as much and just really not going to a lot of places that we would normally go to," she said.
AAA pointed out the price forecast does not take into account supply disruptions such as hurricanes or political unrest in major oil-producing regions.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
It looks like you'll pay less for gasoline in 2013, AAA said today.
“Wichita area gas prices began trending lower in December and that trend is likely to continue for 2013” said AAA Public Affairs Executive Vice President, James Hanni. “This is welcome news for thousands of area drivers who depend on their car to travel where they need to go.”
Gasoline prices this year will be less expensive than in 2012 as a result of increased domestic oil production and lower demand, according to AAA. The national average price of gasoline should peak at $3.60-$3.80 per gallon barring any significant unanticipated events, which compares to a peak of $3.94 a gallon in 2012.
Today’s national average price of gasoline is $3.30 per gallon, which is seven cents less than last year and five cents less than a month ago. In the Wichita area the average today is $3.07 per gallon, compared to $3.08 per gallon a year ago.
AAA projects gasoline prices should rise steadily through April or early May, but at a slower pace than last year. Following a late-spring peak, prices should drop during the first half of the summer to as low as $3.20-$3.40 per gallon before rising again in advance of the Gulf Coast hurricane season and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Prices should end the year by falling to low or near-low averages for 2013.