By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming will see an increase in gas prices this year, a petroleum analyst told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.
According to gas comparison website GasBuddy, both Wyoming and the United States will see sharp increases in gas prices during the year, with the national average possibly peaking at $3 per gallon at some point this year, likely in July.
However, for the year as a whole, average gas prices will increase by only about 27 cents per gallon, the report said.
Wyoming’s gas prices will follow the same pattern, said Patrick De Haan, head petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.
“I don’t expect Wyoming to be much different in 2021 than what’s prescribed in the outlook, as the themes we expect to impact gas prices in every of the nation’s 50 states is common – COVID COVID COVID, unfortunately,” De Haan told Cowboy State Daily.
However, De Haan said Wyoming’s fluctuations would probably occur several weeks after changes in the rest of the country.
“Wyoming gas prices typically lag the national average by several weeks, so that may mean prices rise after the national average does, and they may also take time to fall should there be a circumstance in which the national average decline,” De Haan said.
The GasBuddy report predicted that the nation’s yearly spending on gasoline will rise to nearly $326 billion dollars in 2021, an increase of over $45 billion from last year, as the average household sees its annual gasoline spending rise to $1,670.
While much of the U.S. population will see prices remain in the $2 per gallon range, major cities in California and Hawaii will spend the entire year over $3, while others, including Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Seattle are also at risk of seeing average prices over $3 per gallon in 2021, the report said.
Most of the increase an be traced to the coronavirus and oil production, GasBuddy said.
However, De Haan said he expected gas prices nationally this year to remain below previous records.
“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 said.
Current gas prices ranged widely throughout Wyoming in GasBuddy’s latest survey, with the lowest being found in Laramie ($1.89 per gallon) and the highest being in Jackson ($2.67). The average price found across the state is around $2.15.