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Gas prices: What US drivers can expect at the pump

Gas prices have risen by a substantial 20 cents on a month-over-month basis, now sitting at an average of $3.66 per gallon nationwide. As the United States transitions into the summer season, several factors are expected to drive gas prices even higher in the coming weeks and months.

Yahoo Finance's Ines Ferré breaks down the details, highlighting the areas that are likely to see the most significant price increases in the weeks ahead.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Wealth!

This post was written by Angel Smith

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: Gas prices, as we were talking about a little bit there, smidge, gas prices are up $0.20 from a month ago, at $3.66 per gallon, according to AAA. With US crude still sitting around $84 per barrel, how high could gas prices go in the next few weeks? Yahoo Finance Senior Reporter Ines Ferre is here with more. Hey, Ines.


INES FERRE: Hey, Brad. Well, in the Northeast around the New England area, you can expect to see prices going higher. That is because that summer blend that we've been talking about, which makes gasoline prices more expensive in some states, have already switched to that summer blend. That will be happening-- that transition is going to be happening in states like New York, like New Jersey, and the New England area. So you can expect prices to go up to almost $4 per gallon once that whole conversion takes place.

On a national average, some analysts are calling for prices to go up to around $3.75 per gallon, or even a little higher than that and then recede a bit back. So that more expensive summer blend is making gas prices more expensive. Of course, oil prices, which have rallied this year, that has driven gasoline prices higher.

You had gasoline going up about from $78 to $85 in about a month's time. That accounts for about 17%-- excuse me, $0.17 of that gasoline hike that we've seen in the last month or so. As far as California is concerned, we saw gasoline prices there go a lot higher in recent weeks. And part of that has to do with refinery maintenance that had been planned, that weren't planned, as well. So that really shot up prices in the California area.

Look, analysts are saying that if gasoline prices, Brad, get too high, if they do go much above $3.75 for the National average, then the administration could decide also to release some more SPR. This is an election year, remember, so if gasoline prices really get too high, if oil prices get too high, then we could see a release of that. But then other analysts are saying, look, you are going to see OPEC coming with more spare capacity. They don't want to lose market share when it comes to oil, so you could see some levers being pulled this year.

BRAD SMITH: All right, excellent synopsis and what it means for folks out there watching, especially as they're keeping close tabs on the prices at the pump. Ines, appreciate it.