Rateworks auto loan refinance
April 15, 2024

What Can Cause Gas Prices to Rise?

While gas prices aren’t the highest they have ever been, they are still exceptionally high—around $3.63 per gallon.

Offset rising gas prices by refinancing your auto loan
Written by

Matthew Oliver

It seems like gas prices just won’t go down. Gone are the days of filling your tank at an average cost per gallon of less than $3.00. Aside from gas prices, we seem to be paying more for everything—clothing, groceries, construction materials—you name it. 

While we can resist certain unnecessary expenditures, there are some things we need, and we need them now. Gas is one of those things. Without gas, we can’t get to work, our kids can’t get to after-school activities, and so much more. But why are gas prices rising? We’ve got the answers to your big-time question: what can cause gas prices to rise?

How do fuel shortages affect gas prices?

Top Reasons Causing Prices at the Pump to Remain High 

While we’re largely past the COVID-19 pandemic, prices just don’t seem to be decreasing. As we alluded to above, that includes gas. So what are the triggers that keep those gas prices so high? Let’s take a look.

  • There is higher fuel demand and lower available supplies in our post-COVID recovery.
  • There is lower global crude production feeding into American oil companies.
  • Runaway inflation impacts gas, housing, and food at levels not seen since the 1980s.
  • Russia's war with Ukraine has resulted in US-issued sanctions against Russian oil and gas imports.
  • Environmental policies aiming to reduce carbon emissions increase costs for oil and gas companies, which can lead to higher gas prices as these costs are passed on to consumers.
  • Market speculation on oil prices can lead to sudden spikes. Traders betting on future increases can drive up prices, influenced by global events and economic policies.

So what does all this mean? Households in the U.S. are spending about $2,407 annually on gas. While still high, this is a slight drop from the $2,500 we spent in 2023.

How You Can Offset Higher Pump Prices

Unfortunately, despite as much as we might hope, we can’t directly impact how much we pay for gas. But, there are things we can do to offset those high prices. Here are a few tips from the team at RateWorks.

  • Keep your vehicle in good running condition. This will help improve your gas mileage and burn fewer gallons. A regularly maintained car with fresh spark plugs, oil, and filters and properly inflated tires can cut gas consumption by up to 30%. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence suggests that old spark plugs cost drivers as much as 94 cents per gallon at today's prices.
  • Maintain good driving habits. Reducing your speed from 65 to 55 miles per hour can improve fuel economy from six to eight miles per gallon, in several vehicles. While we’re not saying you should drive under the speed limit, we suggest you go easy on that gas pedal when possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, idling consumes several billion gallons of gas each year. 
  • Check your tires. Tires not inflated to manufacturer specifications are not only less safe, but they can also cost you in fuel efficiency. How much? The U.S. Department of Energy suggested that 1.25 billion gallons of gas are wasted annually due to underinflated tires.

Various factors affect how long gas prices rise

How Long Will Gas Prices Remain High?

No one knows when fuel prices will reverse course, but it does look like we might be heading in the right direction in 2024. That said, we may never see gas prices like those before the pandemic. 

Therefore, it's best to find other ways to save money. In addition to adjusting your driving style, evaluating your monthly auto budget can open up saving opportunities. Here are a few tips to help you keep more money in your pocket while balancing those higher-than-desired gas prices.

  • Carpool with friends or coworkers. Sharing rides means you split the gas bill, saving money for everyone involved.
  • Use public transportation if possible. Buses and trains often cost less than the gas needed for your car.
  • Plan your errands wisely. Doing all your errands in one trip saves gas compared to multiple trips.
  • Keep your car well-maintained. Regular checks ensure your car uses gas efficiently.
  • Consider a fuel-efficient vehicle. If you're looking for a new car, look for one that gets better gas mileage.
  • Refinance your existing car loan. If you think you are spending too much on your monthly car payment, refinancing with RateWorks can help

Save Money by Refinancing Your Car with RateWorks

At RateWorks, we’re in the business of helping drivers save money. In fact, RateWorks has saved drivers an average of $110 per month when they refinance their loans with us, which will more than cover the added money you are now spending at the pump.

Get an instant quote today to see how much you could be saving. Lower monthly payments will free up the cash you need for an emergency expense or higher monthly bills — such as your gasoline bill, for example — and allow you to get your auto budget back on track.