You might want to put your car in park. Gas prices had been falling for the past few months, but now we’re seeing four weeks of steady increases with the national average reaching $3.50 per gallon. Gas prices had, earlier this year, hovered around $4 per gallon. And today’s price is down 20 cents from last year, so there is some good news. (Different parts of the country may experience a slightly higher or lower price.)
The increase could simply be the result of the time of year, with summers usually seeing an increase in gas prices. However, there are also reports of an increase in natural gas prices, which could cause winter heating costs to go up. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says winter gas prices could increase by two percent. However, there are still a lot of variables to consider before we know for sure what energy prices will look like in the coming months.
The bottom line for us consumers is we should be prepared for higher prices for just about everything in the latter parts of this year and early next year. We’ve already reported on the impact that the drought will have on credit and food prices. Couple that with higher prices for energy and you’re going to see increases in all areas of life, from travel to dining and beyond. Bummer.