GasBuddy Heat Map
Motorists across the United States are all experiencing a crazy summer at the gas pump. The West Coast saw sticker shock first, but that situation has cooled. Then the Corn-belt states in the Midwest saw record high gasoline prices that have since cooled. Now the focus has shifted to the Great Lakes where new all time record highs have hit.
While all of these events have led motorists to experience varying amounts of pain, it has kept analysts such as myself and my colleague very busy. And perhaps the least busy thing has been the U.S. national average which has stayed in a relatively tight 12-cent per gallon range over the last month even given all of this regional volatility.
So what shapes up from here? Well one thing is for sure- while we can make predictions, events at refineries can certainly lead to wrong predictions. And some communities will see rising prices while others see falling prices. There certainly is no "one size fits all" approach to gasoline prices, but in the next month, I'll try to break down what we expect for gasoline prices region by region.
East Coast: High supplies will keep prices in check for the time being. We don't expect this region to see a significant spike over what other regions are paying, with prices likely to average $3.60-$3.95 in most cities along the East Coast and New England.
Gulf Coast: Living in the region that many refineries call home is excellent. Gas prices and low taxes will keep the Gulf Coast the cheapest area for gasoline prices over the next few weeks with prices staying in the mid $3/gal range.
Great Lakes: Refinery issues obviously are leading to bipolar gasoline prices. Volatility in prices will be the highest in the country in this region. Prices could fluctuate wildly between the mid $3's and low $4's in most areas.
Rockies: Prices will continue to hold relatively steady in the mid-$3/gal range, with some short term upside possible.
West Coast: Unless a refinery kink hits, expect your prices to remain in the upper $3/gal region. Beware- if a refinery does go down, prices will likely spike to over $4/gal.
Midwest: You already saw record highs but things have been cooling. Prices should remain in the mid-to-upper $3/gal range for the next few weeks.