By on January 7, 2018

pumping-gas fuel

Fueling prices and average economy aren’t exactly the sexiest of automotive topics, but they are the two that will probably influence your life the most directly in the coming year. Expensive gas thrusted countless Americans into economy cars during the early 1980s and 2000s, so any advanced warning would be useful to those considering a new vehicle this year.

Last month, crude prices surpassed $60 per barrel after weekly American output dipped and stockpiles fell. That’s the highest they’ve been in over two-years and, with OPEC cutting production and China hungrier for the black stuff than ever before, prices aren’t expected to drop anytime soon. Does that mean you should nix purchasing that big sport utility vehicle you’ve been eyeballing and option the greener alternative?

Not necessarily and, if you do, you’ll certainly be in the minority. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, which tracks average fuel economy, noted that new cars and light trucks sold in the U.S. in December lost 0.2 mpg from November — resulting in a leaner 25.0 mpg mean.


Despite manufacturers improving fleet-wide efficiency for years, consumer preference has left average economy hovering around the low 25 mpg range since 2014. With car deliveries down 17 percent against last year, sales of less gas-friendly options like crossovers and trucks have grown.

Of course that could change if there were a sudden surge in fuel prices. Gas prices are up slightly from last year, by about $0.12. GasBuddy’s fuel price outlook for 2018 is also anticipating the United States is about to spend $25.4 billion more on fuel in 2018 than it did in 2017.

Fortunately, that translates to a fairly modest increase per household. If you didn’t notice gasoline prices creeping up in 2017 then the odds are good you won’t notice them in 2018. The projected average for the entire year is expected to be around $2.57 per gallon (with diesel at $2.70 a gallon). Obviously, the final sum will ultimately depend upon where you pump. But even those that choose to reside in California, where gas is always a bit pricier, should be safe from four-dollar fuel this year.

GasBuddy 2018 Fuel Spending

Keep in mind that this is all speculative. The refinery responsible for your region may encounter an unprecedented disaster or Texas could get hit buy another queue of hurricanes — forcing an extended shutdown and creating a temporary gas shortage.

However, 2018 looks to be on track for a relatively modest increase in fuel prices that shouldn’t deter anyone from wanting to lease an utter gas-hog. But buying may be slightly less advisable. Let’s not forget that the International Energy Agency predicted a 75-percent increase in oil prices by 2020 and expects it to skyrocket from there as global demand increases. The good news is that it revised its short term outlook, meaning 2018 could be a little easier on the wallet with fewer ugly surprises. Although that doesn’t mean subsequent years will be nearly as kind.

While it may not spell-out disaster, especially if the world energy outlook follows all of those green initiatives governments are so keen on and electric vehicles become the dominant mode of transport (powered by nuclear or renewable energies), there remains the real probability that fuel prices will progress in an upward trajectory over the next two decades. We’d advise shopping for the vehicle you want and then considering what your gas-budget might look like a few years down the line.

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29 Comments on “Predicting the Pump: How Much Will We Be Paying for Gas in 2018?...”

  • avatar

    Between $2.50 and $3.00 a gallon.

  • avatar

    For readers in the bottom part of the world (like me) 25mpg (US gallon) is equivalent to 9.4 l/100km and the price of $US2.57 per US gallon is about $AUS0.86 per litre. Since Christmas, we in Oz have been paying $AUS1.39 per litre. Just thought you Yanks would appreciate the opportunity to gloat.

    • 0 avatar

      Gloat about cheap gas? It’s fine but like low income taxes really nothing to write home about since we don’t really get much for it anyway.

      It might be different if say we had a functional plan for infrastructure instead of what we,have now with a risk adverse Congress fine with the usual corporate handouts while the country comes crashing down around our ears one bridge at a time.

      Now it could just be the grass always looks greener on the other side but at least it looks ljke your getting something for your money.

      I’d gladly pay 4 or 5 dollars for a gallon of gas for a better transportation network with no tolls and if the coffers were overflowing the additional money could be used to shore up reduction, entitlements and such.

    • 0 avatar

      @Spike_in_Brisbane – right now the gas pumps in my northern BC town around 1.16 per liter or 4.39 US gallon.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Americans only respond to price spikes, not price creepage.

    Don’t expect the F-150 to lose its top-selling position, which it also held when gas was over $4.00/gallon.

    More than the First and Second Amendment, we value the ability to buy a gallon of gas; price is no object.

  • avatar

    Those millions of Teslas streaming out of Muskvile are gonna shred fuel prices here in the US. I expect to be paying under 2 bucks a gallon for the rest of my life. Although they may wreck my electric bill.

  • avatar

    I’m thinking about trading my PHEV for something all electric as my daily driver. (Leaf? Tesla?) I might also add an all electric motorcycle to the fleet. (Energica Ego/Eva) My project car and BMW Boxer motorcycle would still be gasoline, but the cost of fuel is not really a concern.

    official guess: around $3.00 gallon

  • avatar

    I always wonder how much more fuel American obesity consumes. I bet it’s not a pretty number.

    • 0 avatar

      Obesity is a worldwide problem. The US obesity rate is 34%, while the UK rate is 28%. Australia is 29%, and France 24%.

    • 0 avatar

      @Joss – as per Forbes:

      “Weight gain of passengers in noncommercial vehicles could account for nearly 1 billion gallons of gasoline consumed per year in the United States from 1960 to 2002, Allstate says in an infographic accompanying its blog post.”

      “It might seem preposterous that portly passengers could negate the weight savings automakers are achieving. But consider that fuel efficiency improves 2 percent for every 100 pounds shed from a vehicle, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So if a heavyset adult couple—each 50 pounds overweight—loses the extra weight, their fuel economy will go up 2 percent.”

  • avatar

    The price of gas here in California is about a $1 more per gallon than Texas. They also raised the gas tax but I’m still paying about $3.20 for premium. Don’t know who is sucking up the difference, just glad it’s not me, at least for now.

  • avatar

    I figure about 1/2 to 1/3 what the price should be.

    I’d LOVE to see $8-10/gal gas in this country. $6+/gal in gas tax would mean some pretty great roads and some better public transportation. But you drive an F-One-Fiddy and live waaaaaay out in the ‘burbs in a McMansion? Sucks to be you.

    • 0 avatar

      Some of us live waaaaay out in the ‘burbs because that’s the only decently sized place we can afford.

      • 0 avatar

        How big do you need? My place in Maine is 1200sq/ft, and the family I bought it from raised 5 children in it. Until #5 came along, it was 800sq/ft. 5 minutes from downtown. My place in FL is 700sq/ft, and almost bigger than I need.

        But if you want to waste your life commuting and paying for a McMansion in the distant ‘burbs, have at it. Luckily, gas is cheap for now.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s a place that did exactly that, it’s called “Europe” and it’s calling for you! Funny the roads aren’t so great, in fact the whole place is an environmental clusterfuk thanks to their fuel taxation. They can only dream of living out in the ‘burbs..

    • 0 avatar

      What a profoundly ignorant wish. Think about how the working poor get to work, how those struggling get food from the grocery store would be much worse off, etc.

      It’s a safe bet that you didn’t put much thought into your $8/gallon wish.

      • 0 avatar

        No, I’ve put lots of thought into it. We would be far better off as a society. Nobody needs an F-150 to commute to work in. Nobody needs 200hp in a boring 4dr sedan so that they can only ever use 1/2 of it. With fewer 6000lb monster trucks on the road, we wouldn’t need 4000lb “small” cars to protect ourselves in a crash. And on and on and on.

        Having spent a decent amount of time in Europe, their way of life has a lot to recommend it.

        • 0 avatar
          Hoon Goon

          I agree that most Americans driving around in their big SUVs and trucks that rarely get used as trucks look a bit foolish I don’t agree with espousing that others should keep my values and how I wish the government/big oil would unnecessarily increase costs to help fund my socialist utopia. You got no business telling anyone what they “need” Comrade. I would rather drive on dirt roads than deal with busybodies.

        • 0 avatar

          KRHODES1……I think you should move to the wonderful life in Socialist Europe.

  • avatar

    Fuel should cost $15/gal and everyone should be limited to 200 gallons each year unless they petition a court for more in which case the additional approved fuel should cost $25/gal.

  • avatar

    Every time I start my Hemi, God kills a Prius. If I let it warm up for 30 minutes in the Winter, he kills an Insight too. Just drill, baby.

  • avatar

    Are you kidding? It’s going to be “Drill baby, drill!” for the next 3 years (hopefully 7). Gas will once again be cheap and plentiful. (Thanks Trump)

  • avatar

    Funny how so many think the “natural” or “ideal” price for gasoline is the market cost of gasoline + $2 to $5 per gallon in taxes. You really think the government knows how to spend your money better than you do, or is it just because you are jealous of those F-150 drivers? NYC already spends 3 times what Paris France spends per mile of new subway tunnel construction – you think they are going to get way more efficient with a bunch more gas tax money? Are you concerned about global warming and think high fuel taxes will curb greenhouse gas emissions – well a 50 cent per gallon tax is already high enough to serve as a carbon tax to account for the well to wheel damage caused by that gallon, so advocating anything higher just means you are wanting to punish the poor. Furthermore, if you have taken one round-trip cross-ocean flight you have already burned more CO2 than that F-150 generates in a year, but I never hear any of the Lear-Jet liberals suggesting that jet fuel taxes should be quadrupled (or more).

    • 0 avatar
      Hoon Goon

      It never amazes me that people (more and more it seems) are just fine with giving up their liberty and money to those that have a perfect track record for abusing the former and wasting the latter.

  • avatar

    Are you kidding? It’s going to be “Drill baby, drill!” for the next 3 years (hopefully 7). The so called experts have only been experts at getting things wrong. Remember how the markets were supposed to crash last year?

    This administration is rolling back regulations like a mo’ fo’ and many opportunities for drilling are opening and re-opening. Oil will be flowing like booze like the day after prohibition. Gas will once again be cheap and plentiful. (Thanks Trump)

  • avatar

    Yesterday at Costco in Los Angeles: regular $2.95/gal and super at $3.15/gal. My guess is $.50 more per gallon by year end, UNLESS we have one of our frequent refinery outages (due to “fire”, “maintenance”, “refurbishing” or “labor issues”) This will raise gas $1 per gallon. Enjoy the golden age of cheap gas and 500 hp while we can.

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