The summer driving season usually brings higher gas prices, but motorists won't see a big spike at the pump this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Short-term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook.
Gas prices will peak at an average of $3.66 in May and then steadily decline to around $3.46 per gallon by September, the report released Wednesday said.
And looking further down the road, the EIA predicts that the average price of a gallon of gas in the calendar year of 2015 will be $3.37 compared with the average of $3.51 in 2013. Today, AAA says the average price nationally is $3.61 while it's $3.51 in Minnesota. It was $3.50 in the Twin Cities.
Increased production and supplies have kept prices steady or even dropped slightly for the first part of 2014, and as a result Americans are driving more. Last year the number of vehicle miles traveled was up 18.1 billion over 2012, the Federal Highway Administration reported. And AAA found that only half of Americans are changing their driving habits and making lifestyle changes to off set the cost of gas, which should peak at 15 cents lower this year than at this time last year and 30 cents lower than in 2012.
“Many people seem to be feeling less pressure to make significant changes in their lives on account of high gas prices,” said Bob Darbelnet, President and CEO of AAA. “Less expensive gasoline may encourage people to drive more and worry less about the financial burden of filling up their tanks.”
Of the 53 percent of Americans who have changed their driving habits, nearly nine out of 10 say they are combining trips and errands and driving less. Just under 70 percent said they are shopping and eating out less and about half said they have delayed a major purchase or are driving more fuel efficient vehicles.
Fewer than one five say they are taking public transportation regularly to save money on gas.