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Experts speculate that gas could hit $7 this year

“Drivers could see gas prices surge to nearly $7 a gallon in some U.S. states as refinery issues bite supply and Chinese demand bounces back, GasBuddy says.” That’s the headline from businessinsider.com. Are you ready to face real pain at the pump? Don’t start canceling your summer road trip plans quite yet. There’s a bit more to the story.

Over-the-top versus good news

Yes, the outfit that helps us find the lowest prices possible when filling up DID suggest that 2023 could see $7-a-gallon gas prices. But GasBuddy’s forecast had what we might consider “good news” in the story. That doesn’t get nearly as much play as a juicy over-the-top prediction. First, let’s kick the gas can down the road to where and how that $7 prediction could see fulfillment.

That attention-getting statement was part of a media release, announcing the publication of GasBuddy’s 2023 Fuel Outlook Report. In the promo, this statement turns up: “Areas of California like San Francisco and Los Angeles could again experience near $7 gas prices again in the summer of 2023 if refineries struggle under mandates of unique formulations of gasoline.” If that were the whole story, a lot of RVers might consider taking up chess or lawn darts.

But that wasn’t the whole story. Let’s look at it this way: Were you able to RV last year, with gas prices as they were? Then the story really is this: You’ll probably be able to RV this year—and perhaps even put more miles on the odometer. Compared to the freakish pump prices of 2022, this year will probably see lower prices across the country. No, not as low as 2021, but, hey, better than 2022.

Still not a “cakewalk”

gas pricesMake no mistake, GasBuddy warns, “2023 is not going to be a cakewalk for motorists. It could be expensive.” This from Patrick De Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis. “The national average could breach $4 per gallon as early as May – and that’s something that could last through much of the summer driving season.” And where do the prices go from there? Look to see a peak on fuel prices in June, with a U.S. average of $4.19 a gallon. We’ve lifted a chart from GasBuddy’s report—you can click on it to enlarge it.

How is $4.19 a gallon for gas “good news”? Echoing GasBuddy’s report, Uncle Sam’s own fuel price gurus at the Department of Energy Information speak up. Comparing 2022 prices to projections for 2023, things do seem to be headed in the right direction. On average through 2022, gas prices averaged $3.99. But the feds say they expect the year-long average this year to be around $3.51. That’s a 12% decrease.

Are you a “diesel-burner”?

How are things projected for the diesel-burning set? Says GasBuddy, “Diesel prices are forecast to average $4.12 in 2023, beginning the year at their highest level and then rebounding as high as $4.30 per gallon in June.” Still, Department of Energy records show the average price last year for diesel was just a smidge over $5.00. If the prediction holds true, then dieselers will actually see a better than 17.5 percent drop from last year.

Not everyone shares GasBuddy’s diesel price enthusiasm. In its December Short-Term Energy Outlook, the feds crystal ball gazers said they expected the 2023 average to hit $4.48 a gallon. That would turn into a 10.4 percent decrease, much closer to the drop expected for gassers.

So whom do you believe? GasBuddy’s De Haan warns, “Basically, curveballs are coming from every direction. Extreme amounts of volatility remain possible, but should become slightly more muted in the year ahead. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such an amount of volatility as we saw this year [2022], and that will be a trend that likely continues to lead to wider uncertainty over fuel prices going into 2023.”

More ways to save on fuel

gas pricesSurely, fuel prices won’t be anything like they were in 2020, when the pandemic pushed fuel demand and associated prices into the basement. Still, having to pay less at the pump may make our travels more enjoyable. But there’s more to be done to improve the miles we can roll. Here are just a few “fuel economy” measures that can help take the heat off your wallet.

Watch your speed. As the old mechanic used to say, “Keep your foot out of the pot!” Driving above 60 cuts efficiency dramatically. While savings for automobiles are far easier to predict, “pushing that big box down the road” does burn up the energy for RVers. The fed’s fueleconomy.gov, reminds us, “Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go traffic.”

Stay in line. Are your motorhome’s or tow vehicle and trailer tires aligned? Bad tire alignment means dragging rubber down the road, instead of rolling freely. Fuel efficiency can drop by as much as 10%. Add to the issue, misaligned tires wear out faster, so more money out of your pocket.

Pump it up. Uncle Sam’s fuel economy whizzes say, “You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average – up to 3% in some cases. How? By keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires.” Make it a practice to check tire pressure before pulling out in the morning.

If reduced gas prices still aren’t enough for you, don’t give up your RVing altogether. Think traveling closer to home. There’s beauty—and restfulness—to be found in RVing anywhere in the country.

##RVT1086b

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Chuck
20 days ago

This was a good article. Could do without the standard slow down, align your wheels and inflate your tires editorialization pitch but other than that was truly informative. The comments by others below are great too.

Karl Losely
20 days ago

What most folks do not know is most U.S. refineries are not set up to refine U.S. crude oil. WHAT?
Yes! Most U.S. refineries are designed to refine the heavy sour sludge the Arabs produce, not the light sweet crude that comes from U.S. oil fields. Thus we ship our good crude oil to Europe and buy the crap crude from our “allies” in the Middle ‘East. Sometimes the Arab crude has to be thinned with U.S. crude to even be refineable.

Jeff Craig
21 days ago

Blame our ‘Allies’ in the Arabian Gulf, Putin, the Fossil Fuel Industry and Legalized Bribery (Campaign Finance being gutted by the Citizens United decision). There is more than enough oil out there, but drillers want to explore where they can make the most profit, and still ship our domestic production overseas (like we did until the 1950’s). We are choking on our own waste, just as Chief Sealth (Seattle) once reportedly claimed we would. It is time we knuckle up and change to zero-carbon/SO2/NO2 alternatives. Methane/Propane isn’t a ‘bridge’ either.

Admin
Diane McGovern
21 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Thanks, Jeff. I learned something new. I’ve heard of “knuckle down” and “buckle up” but never heard of “knuckle up.” Now I know that it means to approach a problem aggressively. Have a good night. 😀 Yay, Seahawks!! And thanks, Lions!! –Diane at RVtravel.com

Rich F
21 days ago

I knew this story would devolve into politics… Happens all the time.

Stop listening to the news (left or right) and learn for yourself on how oil prices work… sigh.

Steve H
21 days ago

We don’t RV in summer–too many out-of-state RVers filling all of Colorado’s public campgrounds and the best boondocking sites. So we don’t really care how high summer diesel prices go, as our motorhome will just be sitting next to the garage for those 3 months. And we never go to California in our RV anymore– been there, done that. Only Sept.-May diesel prices in the rest of the West and Midwest concern us.

Lonewolf
21 days ago

I have never been a fan of GasBuddy or when AAA has their gas and diesel forecast. To me, it’s like the old Bob Saget joke “I read that gas prices are to go as high as $7 a gallon in 2023, honestly I “Read” it…I wrote it down and then read it! It’s nothing more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most, not all, especially West Coasters, know the politics involved in last year’s record fuel prices and probably this year’s too. You can’t cut the money chain for research, repair, development, and refining capacity, the supply of natural resources, and expect everything to be how they were prior to 2020.

Leonard
21 days ago

When pulling our 35′ 5th wheel, I keep the speed between 55-60 mph. It makes a huge difference! I can’t imagine what fuel mileage the RV’s get that pass me at 70+ mph. To each his own I guess.

chris
21 days ago

I bought an EV. I don’t care.

Charlie Sullivan
21 days ago
Reply to  chris

You will when the price of electricity goes up. Do you think it’s free?

chris
21 days ago

My local electricity is not produced by burning stuff.

Last edited 21 days ago by chris
Jeff Craig
21 days ago

No, but it is nearly free when you charge from Solar Panels!!

Sheri Ken
21 days ago
Reply to  chris

How’s that working pulling your RV?
How’s that EV RV Travel?
OH, do you even RV?

Admin
Diane McGovern
21 days ago
Reply to  Sheri Ken

Be nice, Sheri Ken. Chris is a longtime subscriber to RVtravel.com, so I’m quite sure he is a longtime RVer, as well. People have, and are entitled to, different views, as I’m sure you know. That does not call for a snarky response. Just sayin’. –Diane at RVtravel.com

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  Diane McGovern

BOOM.

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  chris

As long as you don’t judge me and my HUMONGOUS CARBON footprint I won’t judge you and your tiny one. What a country. I’m happy you made your choice. I made one too.

Bill Bamber; Edmonton Alberta
21 days ago

Think it is called “Gouging”!!!

Chuck
19 days ago

Perhaps its a little gouging, but my PetroCanada stock is doing great. I just wish we could get that Sweet Light Alberta Crude into America easier, cleaner and cheaper. Hmmmm, maybe a pipeline? Yeah, that’s it, and we could call it the Keystone XL? If only there were a way?

Ray
21 days ago

The voters can correct these man-made shortages but they have to be smart enough to recognize that they are man-made, who made them and that their impact is detrimental to their own circumstances. Given the training they were given growing up, this may be too much to ask.

Bob M
21 days ago

After seeing who people voted for in Nov 22. If gas goes up to $7. a gallon I don’t feel sorry for them. When price of gas was high, people were speeding down the highway. Not caring how much gas they used. People complain about high taxes but still vote the same people in office. Than we have the federal reserve chairman saying we need a higher unemployment rate. To get inflation under. control. In Pa, they keep saying food banks have more and more people who need food assistance. While I still traveled with my travel trailer last year, I’m only camping local this year. Price of gas in 2022 was substantially higher than in the previous administration.

Chuck
19 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

I’m with you Bob. Hearing voters whine makes me laugh a little, AT THEM. If you vote for a kick in teeth don’t ask me to help take the corn off the cob for you. I have no sympathetic ear to hear about the swelling caused by a requested donkey punch. Funny AF.

Joe Goomba
21 days ago

Cue the political B.S. due to this story. Learn how it works, folks. It’s corporate greed.

Tom
21 days ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

If corporate greed was the cause, gas prices would be high all of the time.

chris
21 days ago
Reply to  Tom

True. It’s not Biden’s fault either.

Rich K.
20 days ago
Reply to  chris

Considering how he’s been putting serious restrictions on new gas and oil exploration, and selling our reserves to our frenemies in Red China…yeah, it is.

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  chris

Nope. The Border is closed, the vaccine prevents infection, no natural immunity, Bill didn’t inhale, DeCaprio caused the titanic to sink, the Russians voted for Trump and Hunter is a quaker.

Mindy
19 days ago
Reply to  Chuck

🤣 It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on, that was funny 😂

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

Yes it is. When costs go up, profit goes up. Keep it coming Dem voters. Taxes get marked up just like fuel costs. Please keep voting for higher priced gas and lower priced Fentanyl. Record profits on less orders. That’s capitalism folks. High costs equal high profit. Companies don’t just pay the higher cost and pass it on 1 for 1. They pay the 1, mark it up and then charge you. That’s why companies don’t pay taxes. They never have they never will. They collect the taxes from you. They mark it up and send your money along to the govt. They are middle men. Higher corporate taxes equal higher corporate profits, NOT LOWER.

Chuck
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

Oh Joe. And yet, no charges have been filed for any predatory crime against any oil company or gas station. Maybe Russia is the easier target? Or how about we blame the previous administration for making gas so expensive 2 years later by working with the Russians. Yeah, that’s it. Plus the 100 million barrels being selfishly stored under Mara Lago for a rainy day, in a giant vault, a giant oil vault.

Bob O
21 days ago

Seem to reiterate lots of same same every
week
Dealers are loaded with used and new-
Waiting for give away price when they
will be forced to sell to survive
Would definitely not purchase new with
all reports of quality control
Just my thoughts
Happy Safe New Year

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  Bob O

Absolutely right.

Tom E
21 days ago

Yep, starting into the next election cycle. Prices up before the last one to aid in kicking those “greenies” out. It will be time to play the same game with the current administration. It’s the consumers that will suffer in the long run. We’ve all heard that the refiners shut down less profitable refineries during the pandemic and didn’t start them back up and we’ve heard of the thousands of untapped oil leases all in an effort to boost petrochemical profits. Well, here we go again. We RV mostly NE, SE and central US. For us, diesel prices are always highest in PA, FL, & NY – in that order. I avoid filling up in any of these states when travelling. I also use Mudflap & Gasbuddy to find the best discounts. A 50 gallon diesel transfer tank in the truck bed gives me a good 800 mile driving range. That $1-$1.50/gal difference not buy overtaxed fuel pays for the added cost of the tank over a very short time.

Jesse Crouse
21 days ago

Always look at traffic conditions where you want to drive when you leave where you are now. Living on the East Coast we always look at driving conditions at the 4 hell holes of New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Atlanta. As much as I like an expeditious drive take your foot off the pedal. I like keeping those dollars in my wallet even more. Pa.Dutch cheap.

Engineer
21 days ago

Another example of social media hype…what happened to the predictions that DEF and diesel extreme shortages? If gas prices are $7 a gallon in California then the citizens of the state are the reason…plan and simple….

G13
21 days ago
Reply to  Engineer

How are the citizens of California responsible? For an engineer, it’s “plain”, not plan.

Joe Goomba
21 days ago
Reply to  G13

He don’t know, he just blindly rails against California thru red-lensed glasses.

Chuck
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

I’m heading back to the Golden state next week. Love California. I just fill her up before I leave and with 975 miles of range I seldom leave my hard earned money at the California pumps for the California pimps. Thanks for the clean beaches tho.

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago
Reply to  G13

Don’t CA residents vote for their politicians? Higher taxes and goofier and goofier laws?

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

How does “rapid braking” lessen your fuel mileage?

And, 10-4 B N S.

Spike
21 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Because you kept your foot on the gas longer than you had to and then brake harder vs letting off earlier and coasting to a stop. The latter saves fuel and brake parts.

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago
Reply to  Spike

Not me, but I understand your response.

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