Gas prices continue to decline, however AAA predicts that trend will come to an end as refineries enter the seasonal maintenance period. In Georgia, prices are down three cents to $2.38 a gallon. However, prices for the month of February are the highest in four years and motorists are paying 18 cents more per gallon than this time last year.
As for the expected price hike, Mark Jenkins with AAA said historically, it has jumped anywhere from 15 to 75 from February to June. In 2017, prices only rose 15 cents as oil prices struggled to maintain strength.
"Energy prices are rising again, which should signal the end for the steady slump at the pump," said Jenkins. "Wholesale gasoline prices jumped last week, amid reports that refinery activity along the gulf coast is slowing down. This will make it more expensive for retailers to purchase gasoline, and that added expense will eventually be passed along to the consumer. Based on movements in the market last week, the short-term increase could amount to only a few cents, but motorists should expect a minimum total increase of 20-30 cents this spring."
GasBuddy.com reports prices are down 1.7 cents to an average of $2.35. That's compared to the national average of $2.50 a gallon, down 1.1 center in the last week.
"Even as oil prices were in rally mode to end last week, gasoline prices continued lower with the national average moving lower for the third consecutive week. But March typically comes in more like a lamb and goes out like a lion, and I certainly would expect more fireworks at the pump as temperatures begin to warm and gasoline demand begins to perk up," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "Many places have seen at least the first step towards summer gasoline already made. Unlike the transition from summer to winter gasoline that is much simpler, the transition to the more strict fuel coming into the regulated summer months is a bit trickier, especially considering the amount of work going into refineries ahead of the summer driving season, which is more like the running of the bulls where refineries try to stay ahead of the rise in demand. No matter what happens with oil, any curve ball to this work has a tendency to act as a spark in the combustion process- something will likely ignite gas prices, but it's unpredictable when and to what degree."
Locally, Atlanta gas prices came in at $2.38, down two cents from last week, according to GasBuddy. AAA reports the highest price was in Savannah at $2.42 and the lowest was in Augusta-Aiken at $2.31.