Prepare to Pay More Than $3 a Gallon at the Pump This Month

Gas prices are expected to keep creeping up to more than $3 a gallon in many regions of the U.S.

You've probably already noticed the prices at your local gas station ticking up in recent weeks. Over the past month, the AAA reports gas has jumped about 15 cents a gallon. With a national average of $2.81 a gallon, the price has increased 3 cents in the last week alone.

Current expectations suggest prices will level out in coming weeks. But experts warn $3 a gallon gas is likely to hit your neighborhood sometime this month. After demand retreats from its peak, the costs of a gallon should begin to creep back down. That might be the silver lining, but don't expect prices to plunge all at once. 

What's behind the increasing pain at the pump

Credit: Flickr, Mike Mozart

Analysts have pointed to a number of factors contributing the increase in gas prices. They go beyond typical rise in demand, Oil Price Information Service's chief oil analyst explained. Tom Kloza said uncertainty about Iranian sanctions from the U.S. are a major factor for higher prices. He blamed "speculation that the Trump administration will take a hard line with Iran."

President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of an Iranian nuclear deal reached by his predecessor. A deadline of May 12 will determine whether the U.S. remains in the accord.

Where prices will be the the highest

While nowhere in the U.S. is expected to be spared increased prices, some will be hit harder. States on the West Coast already have average prices at or above $3 a gallon. Other states already at that point include Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Further east, Pennsylvania is the only state to hit that mark so far. By the peak, experts say roughly 20 states will have average prices of at least $3 a gallon for gas.

The bottom line is that no matter what the cause is, prices are trending upward.

As it stands, the cost of a gallon of gas is the highest it's been in four years. The influence and uncertainty of politics remains a driving force behind this issue. Nonetheless, with nicer weather on it's way and summer vacation plans in the works, we hope the prices aren't too high for too long!

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