With a new year comes new concerns on family budgets and how the money is spent in the upcoming year – especially on gasoline.
According to analysts at GasBuddy, 2014 could see a yearly average of U.S. gasoline prices at $3.399; a 10-cent decrease of the average in 2013.
However, GasBuddy analysts have warned that prices are expected to take a major roller coaster ride this year as well.
The U.S. gas prices will continue to see huge swings and regional volatility. One of those swings is an estimated U.S. average price of $3.83 a gallon this spring, with Texas prices estimated to be between $3.50 to $3.64 a gallon – one of the lowest priced areas in the country.
Some controversy in the upcoming year may be big spreads among retailers in the same geographic area.
Overall, there are two movements at work in the U.S. retail markets. Several large companies are invested in product differentiation, such as additives to gasoline, as well as loyalty tie-ins with grocers and other merchandisers. Independent retailers tend to stress a competitive price point, in some cases offering fuel near break-even levels.
Diesel prices are expected to remain strong in 2014. Wholesale and retail prices are expected to stay around 30-50 cents higher than gasoline in most areas in the country due to diesel being an extremely profitable product for refiners.
With the usual price spiking risks still present, such as U.S. refinery maintenance, storm threats, disruption in the Middle East and North Africa, 2014 is expected to be a year that could find more consistent prices in any year since the economic downturn began.