The national average price of gas registered $2.61 per gallon Sunday, which is the highest average so far this year. Prices are up about 58 cents per gallon since reaching a low of $2.03 per gallon in late January, according to AAA.
Of course, that’s far better than a year ago, when the national average was $3.68 per gallon. Nonetheless, this spring’s run-up is the largest seasonal increase in gas prices since 2012.
In 2012, the national average increased by 66 per gallon during the spring. U.S. average prices increased by 43 cents per gallon in spring 2014 and 50 cents in 2013. It is fairly common for gas prices to jump late winter and early spring as refineries perform seasonal maintenance, which can limit gasoline production.
“Gas prices have climbed to the highest levels of the year due largely to rising crude oil costs,” said Avery Ash. “As prices keep climbing, it getting more difficult to believe that gas was below $2 per gallon at the majority of stations earlier this year.”
The national average price of gas has increased 18 days in a row for a total of 22 cents per gallon. The cost of crude oil has increased by more than $15 per barrel since reaching a six-year low in the middle of March.
The current national average price of gas is the most expensive since Dec. 12, 2014.
Summer 2015 to See Cheapest Gas in Years
Despite the recent price surge at the pumps, motorists should end up paying the lowest gas prices during the summer driving season in at least five years, AAA says. Prices could even each the lowest summertime levels in a decade, if the cost of crude oil drops again.
“We could see record summer travel because the economy is stronger and gas prices are much cheaper than in recent years,” added Ash. “Lower gas prices will make travel more affordable and this may motivate Americans to take a summer road trip.”
About 6 in 10 Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip of 50 miles or more in 2015 if gas prices remain near recent levels, according to a new AAA survey.