AAA predicts that the price of gasoline will remain in the range of $3.55 to $3.70 per gallon this summer. As of June 2, 2014, the countrywide average price of gasoline was $3.67, only a nickel higher than last year's average. However, the price of gasoline is wholly dependent on geographical climate, and the potential for a severe hurricane season from June 1-to Nov. 30 could cause these prices to spike. This prediction is a conservative amount compared to the monthly prices of the past three years. Between May and June of 2011, for example, gas prices were between $3.75 to $4 per gallon.
The states that suffer from the most costly gas prices are California, Alaska and Hawaii, as residents there are currently paying over $4 per gallon to fill their tanks. Midwestern states also experience periodical spikes in gas prices due to refinery problems, supply bottlenecks and logistical issues.
Gas prices fluctuate as a result of the geographical sphere but also the political one. As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unsolved, there is military activity in Ukraine as the national military forces clash with pro-Russian separatists. Though Eastern Europe is a supplier of natural gas, analysts maintain that they do not foresee this conflict affecting natural gas supply to the U.S., since the U.S. has begun tapping into a previously unknown domestic supply of natural gas with improved drilling techniques.
Domestic production of natural gas will drive prices down, but the unknown amount of natural gas reserves across the country keep analysts speculating about future prices. Due to more efficient, cost-effective drilling and completion techniques in the production of natural gas from its shale form, domestic gas has remained relatively affordable for the past few years, but prices are still volatile as anything from changing weather patterns to an inaccurate prediction of domestic natural gas reserves may change them. In the meantime, drivers should invest in regular vehicle maintenance to ensure their cars are operating efficiently.