Gas prices see rise ahead of Christmas holiday

Published 9:47 am Wednesday, December 20, 2023

As millions of Americans hit the road for the Christmas holiday, many will reap the gift of lower gas prices, with nearly 100,000 stations offering gasoline at $2.99 or less. The national average price of gas is projected to be $3.09 on Christmas Day according to GasBuddy, the leading fuel savings platform saving North American drivers the most money on fuel. Prices over the holiday weekend will have dropped nearly 80¢ per gallon compared to what they were paying earlier this fall, when the national average reached $3.85 per gallon.

Though a $2.99 national average seemed to be on the horizon, a sudden surge, propelled by the Federal Reserve hinting that interest rate cuts could be coming next year and Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea caused oil prices to rebound in the run up to the holidays. While the rise may last a week or two, increases should be fairly mundane, with over half the nation’s states likely to stay close to a $3 per gallon average. Another window of opportunity for lower gas prices could arrive in January or February, as refiners start to liquidate winter gasoline ahead of the transition to summer fuels.

“For the second straight year, we’ve seen the national average stop just short of falling below the $3 per gallon mark, though tens of thousands of gas stations around the U.S. will still have prices at $2.99 or lower,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “While most are just trying to get through the holidays, we’ve been crunching numbers for what motorists can expect for 2024. Our annual Fuel Outlook, to be released in the coming days, offers some hope of lower prices for the year ahead.”

GasBuddy projects prices to continue to slowly rise through the end of 2023, with some relief arriving again depending on economic conditions in mid-January, lasting through mid-February. To save more money on gas, GasBuddy recommends motorists sign up for the free Pay with GasBuddy card, which can save users up to 25¢ per gallon on every fill up.