Don't Waste Your Money: Gas prices increasing earlier than usual - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: Gas prices increasing earlier than usual this year

(Toledo News Now) -

According to AAA, gas prices nationwide are up 25 cents a gallon over the past couple weeks and a higher price could come. It's not even spring yet, and already AAA says gas prices are rising at a "blistering pace."

In the old days, February was the month when gas prices were the cheapest. It's still winter, few people are taking driving vacations, and demand for gasoline is down. But not this year, gas prices are heading up as if summer was already here.

It was just a couple of weeks ago drivers were enjoying the lowest gas prices in a year. Suddenly, it seemed that gasoline costing less than $3 a gallon could be in the future.

That's all changed.

Read the latest report on this week's gas prices in Ohio. Find the cheapest local gas prices in northwest Ohio.

Impact On Drivers, Family Budgets

John Hoegh is a contractor who has to pay for his own gas in his work truck. This sudden jump is hurting his income.

"[To fill up it costs] 85 bucks, and that gets me through a week of work," said Hoegh.

Gas prices are up 50 cents since early January and drivers are already starting to cut back on how much they buy.

"I'm only getting $20 worth instead of filling my tank, hoping they will go back down," said Elaine Whittaker, who would normally fill her tank.

What's Causing This?

According to Gas Buddy, we're being hit by two factors:

-Crude oil prices have soared from $92 to almost $100 a barrel, as world economies improve.

-U.S. wholesale gas prices have hit a three-month high, with several California and Chicago refineries closed for maintenance, and Hess Oil permanently closing an East Coast refinery.

Gas futures are now at their highest level since October.

What it all means is we are seeing our annual spring jump in gas prices two months early this year.

The Good News

The U.S. Energy Department is calling for lower gas prices this year than in 2012. It says supplies are stronger, and cars continue to get better gas mileage, reducing demand.

This means barring a major hurricane, this summer should not be as bad as last year's, so you don't waste your money.

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