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Industry experts predict spike in gas prices for 2021

Travel app GasBuddy predicts that the price for a gallon of gas could spike near $3 by the end of 2021.
Credit: Getty-Thinkstock
Stock Image-Getty/Thinkstock

CHICAGO — The start of a new year and the sight of 2020 in the rear view mirror has many thinking life will be much better in the days ahead. 

At least one thing may not be: The price you pay to keep your car rolling down the road.

GasBuddy.com, a national travel and navigation app used to find the cheapest place to fill up, predicts that the price for a gallon of gas could spike near $3 by the end of 2021. Overall, petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan believes the yearly average price will climb closer to a more modest 27 cents per gallon.

“While Americans are nearly guaranteed to see higher gas prices in 2021, it’s not all bad news. Average prices are still likely to be quite affordable, but some distinct and unpredictable changes in the COVID-19 pandemic may leave their wallets a bit more empty this year,” said De Haan. “However, I’m very optimistic that we’ll see improvement in the pandemic and see gas prices stay far under their previous records, leading Americans to perhaps turn to the nation’s highways to seek happiness after a year of stress and challenges, slamming the door on what was an awful 2020.” 

De Haan lays out some factors that could impact fuel prices, including the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether there is a broad recovery after the severe shutdowns and restrictions that limited gasoline demand and prompted Americans to work and learn from home. 

Other unknowns include whether oil production globally will return as quickly as increased demand, and whether the administration of incoming president-elect Joe Biden will enact major changes in energy policy that involve petroleum use and the oil industry.