Good News On Gas Prices

The good news ahead of the summer driving season is that gas and diesel prices are lower than last year, and Wisconsin prices are below the national average.

Patrick De Haan is the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, a technology company that tracks fuel prices across the U.S. and Canada. He says he’s watching a few red flags that could reverse the drop in gas prices, such as unrest in the Middle East and hurricane season later this summer. But for now, he expects smooth sailing ahead.

Gas prices typically start declining in May or June depending on when refineries wrap up maintenance and can amp up production, explains De Haan.

The national average for gas prices has fallen for three straight weeks, including in Wisconsin. Wisconsin gasoline prices are 7 cents lower than a year ago. Diesel prices have also been declining. The national average is at $3.89 per gallon. Wisconsin’s average is at $3.67 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.

De Haan says interest rates play a role, too. Interest rates are putting a lid on the economy and reducing willingness to spend, therefore lowering demand for gasoline, he says.

Usually, gas prices will stay lower throughout the summer. It depends on hurricane season which can disrupt refineries. The largest and most significant refineries are around New Orleans and Houston – hurricane country, explains De Haan.

Another question mark is the Middle East, he says. He notes the dispute between Israel and Hamas has not destabilized the region as much as it could. But if Iran, a significant producer of crude oil, gets drawn in, it could have a drastic impact on oil prices.

Overall, the imbalances of COVID and Russia’s war in Ukraine have smoothed out, De Haan concludes.