Buckle Up for Rising Gas Prices

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Gasoline prices in August 2013. File photo.

You’ve been warned, said petroleum analysts at Gas prices are about to get pumped up, eventually

Gas prices are about to get pumped up, eventually climbing to the year’s highest levels as refineries across the nation are preparing for maintenance season and the seasonal switch to cleaner burning gasoline.

The hikes are due to summer’s more expensive blend of gasoline, required by the Environmental Production Agency and the Clean Air Act, as well as refinery maintenance work lasting several months that causes gasoline production to drop, creating a pinch at the pump.

Last year, the national average jumped 69 cents during this season, from a low of $1.69 to a high of $2.39; 2015 saw an even larger increase of 78 cents, from a low of $2.03 to a high of $2.81 per gallon.


Highlights of what’s to come at pumps across the nation:

  • Average gasoline prices will rise 35 to 75 cents between recent lows and peak prices, just in time for spring break travel plans. Gas prices will likely plateau in May.
  • America’s daily gasoline bill will swell from today’s $788 million to as much as $1.1 billion daily by Memorial Day. This is $312 million more spent every 24 hours.
  • Some of the nation’s largest cities will be $3 a gallon gasoline very soon, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Seattle, with other large cities possibly joining due to various stringent summer gasoline requirements.
  • Watch out for more gas price volatility in the Great Lakes and West Coast versus other areas, based on prior year outages at refineries in these areas. As a result, there may be temporary gas price spikes.

“While I remain optimistic this year will not bring a ‘running of the bulls,’ we’re likely to see some major increases at the gas pump as the seasonal transition and refinery maintenance get underway,” said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Overall, most areas will see peak prices under $3 per gallon, and while that’s far under prices a few years ago, watching prices surge every spring certainly brings heart burn with it. If we were to add the five-year average increase we see during the spring, the national average would be thrust to $2.85 per gallon around Memorial Day, a 59 cent rise from the $2.26 per gallon observed Feb. 9.”


Locally, average retail gasoline prices in Honolulu have risen 0.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.97 per gallon, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 214 gas outlets in Honolulu.


This compares with the national average that has increased 1.4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.27 per gallon, according to

Including the change in gas prices in Honolulu during the past week, recent prices were 55 cents per gallon higher than the same time one year ago and are 4.3 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

The national average has decreased 7.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 57.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

According to GasBuddy historical data, gasoline prices per gallon on Feb. 13 in Honolulu have ranged widely over the last five years: $2.42 in 2016, $2.92 in 2015, $3.94 in 2014, $4.20 in 2013 and $4.07 in 2012.


“The era of falling gasoline prices will likely be coming to an end soon at a gas station near you,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “Not to say declines are completely done, but over the next few weeks, we’ll likely see more times when stations are raising their prices then dropping them, thanks to gasoline demand that will soon begin recovering and crude oil imports that will soon reflect OPEC’s lower output. The national average typically rises 35 to 65 cents from its low price, usually in February, through Memorial Day, and there’s no reason to believe the same won’t happen this year, so buckle up.”

For LIVE fuel price averages, visit

States observing the largest seasonal jump between mid-February and Memorial Day at the pump last year:

  1. Michigan, up 95 cents per gallon
  2. Ohio, up 92 cents per gallon
  3. Illinois, up 92 cents per gallon
  4. Indiana, up 90 cents per gallon
  5. Wisconsin, up 86 cents per gallon
  6. Minnesota, up 82 cents per gallon
  7. Kansas, up 76 cents per gallon
  8. Oklahoma, up 75 cents per gallon
  9. Missouri, up 74 cents per gallon
  10. Kentucky, up 73 cents per gallon

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