National gas price average predicted to rise to $2.50 a gallon this year

The price of gas could rise to the highest it's been in three years, according to GasBuddy.com. The website predicts that the national average for gas this year could reach $2.50 a gallon.



Statistics show that the national average for a gallon of gas rose by more than 6 cents this week to $2.35 a gallon. This is a bit less than New Jersey's average gas price, which is at $2.44 a gallon this week.



"OPEC has started to reduce the supply, and demand has continued to go up," says AAA spokeswoman Cathleen Lewis.



Prices may rise 5 to 6 cents every week. Coupled with New Jersey's recently passed gas tax increase, people in New Jersey are paying much more than they are used to paying for gas.



AAA says it's possible for steady price hikes for the next few weeks and then again when the seasons change.



"We do the fuel change. We start to see prices going up in the summer because we have that summer season," Lewis says. "When all of those things happen, we're looking at prices over $2.50 and some analysts are saying it's going to be closer to the $3 mark."



But William Paterson Cotsakos College of Business dean Siamack Shojai says that he thinks President-elect Donald Trump's pro-oil stance may cancel out any price hikes OPEC will bring.



"We'll see more oil production inside the United States, regardless of what OPEC does," Shojai says. "Oil prices internationally are going to be kind of tamed."



Gas prices may fluctuate this year, but neither Lewis nor Shojai say they think gas prices will go over $4 per gallon.


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