LIMA — Will drivers pay more at the pump in 2020? GasBuddy’s annual fuel price outlook suggests that may be the case, even though the smartphone app predicts the national average pump price for gasoline will be two cents lower in 2020 than it was in 2019.
If the nation’s economy remains robust, GasBuddy anticipates household consumption of gasoline will increase in 2020 for an average of $1,935 per family.
Consumers should also anticipate a possible 75-cent increase in fuel prices between February and May, according to the report, which suggests fuel prices will peak anywhere from $2.71-$2.96 per gallon in May.
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said fuel prices in Ohio tend to be slightly above the national average, so Ohioans can expect to see similar prices locally.
While the report considered seasonal and global trends in oil production, demand and overall economic outlook in the U.S., unanticipated refinery shutdowns, major storms and conflict between the U.S. and Iran, among other factors, may change the outlook.
Oil prices rose nearly 20% in September 2019 after Iran’s suspected attack on Saudi Arabia, for example, before falling again. But De Haan said it’s impossible to predict how the latest provocation between the U.S. and Iran will affect oil prices.
“Their response is going to be key in how long, how high we see prices go,” he said.
Another factor affecting fuel prices: Ohio’s 10.5-cent per gallon gasoline tax increase enacted in 2019.
“Without increases to state gasoline taxes in recent years, we’d be seeing the national average move slightly lower each year,” De Haan said. “However, a myriad of states have raised gasoline taxes in this low gas price environment, undercutting the real benefit to consumers: affordable and lower pre-tax gasoline prices.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.