For nearly a year, we've all been enjoying some relatively low gas prices. This is especially true when you compare them to 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. However, experts say we should expect to see a drastic increase over the course of 2017. In fact, they expect gas prices to spike to around $3 a gallon at some point next year.
Currently, the national average is $2.21 per gallon. While this still seems low, this average is up 3.8 cents from where it was in November. It is also up nearly 20 cents from where it was a year ago. Experts say that prices usually drop during the winter due to a lack of travel. However, this year, the opposite is true.
If prices do spike to around $3 a gallon, this is likely to hit American consumers pretty hard. Fuel conscious drivers who still own a fuel-efficient car will probably see the lowest impact. Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute say they will probably see an increase of about $381 if they drive around 12,000 miles a year.
Unfortunately, the lower gas prices we've been enjoying for so long have helped encourage many drivers to choose a different type of vehicle. Many consumers have switched from the fuel-efficient models to SUVs and trucks that don't get nearly as good of gas mileage. These folks will definitely begin seeing a major hit on their gas budget as the gas prices continue to climb.
Luckily, experts do say that they don't expect prices to go higher than $3 a gallon in 2017 due to the massive inventory of gas. The amount of gas produced by North America and OPEC countries will also play a factor in these numbers.