Chicago - With the first quarter of the year over, GasBuddy looked at what took place at some 120,000 gas stations across the United States during the first quarter, as well as what is yet to come.
Virginia boasted the largest savings at the pump for January through March versus the same time period in 2013, at 23.7 cents per gallon. Also in the top five are Georgia (23.5c/gal lower), Mississippi (23.5c/gal), South Carolina (23.2c/gal), and Alabama (23.1c/gal). A total of 48 states saw lower gas prices this year than last during the first quarter, with the exceptions being Colorado (8.6c/gal higher), and Wyoming (14c/gal higher).
Montana saw the cheapest average in the first quarter, with gas prices averaging a mere $3.09/gal. Hawaii saw the highest prices, averaging $4.06/gal. Unsurprisingly, it was cities in these states that fared the best and worst, respectively. Billings, MT saw gas average $3.06/gal while Honolulu saw prices average $3.97/gal. California cities rounded out the rest of the cities where prices were highest during the first quarter.
The price of $3.49/gal was the most common in the U.S. yesterday, with 4,742 stations charging that price, while $3.59/gal was the second most popular price, with 4,522 stations charging that price.
Motorists in California have seen the longest streak of rising prices, at 66 consecutive days, while Washington and Virginia round out the top three at 55 and 54 days respectively. West Virginia and New York appear in the #4 and #5 positions with 53 and 44 days respectively.
So what's ahead? According to GasBuddy analysts, the rise in prices will likely persist for several more weeks. "Motorists face rising prices every spring for varying reasons, but most notably because of refinery maintenance that slows production of gasoline and stations being required to sell cleaner burning blends of gasoline that cost them more," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan.
"We believe that gas prices nationally will average $3.52/gallon for the April through September time frame, which would be the lowest we've seen in a few years," DeHaan said.
"Hotspots could certainly develop in any state over the next month or so as refiners finish maintenance, so motorists should be prepared for it, but once June rolls around, we will begin to see relief," said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
GasBuddy.com is a tool to help motorists save money at the pump by collecting gas price data and displaying it on websites and on a free smartphone app that has been downloaded over 37 million times.