Unless you’re driving around in an electric powered vehicle, you’ve probably noticed gas prices are on the rise.
“It’s really been on a tear since the holidays," says Patrick DeHaan, the head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "Prices are on the cusp of $3 a gallon.”
Here in South Florida, we’re paying an average of $2.91 per gallon for regular - slightly higher than the national average of $2.86.
But why? It actually has to do with the same reason that gas prices were so low for most of last year: the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The refineries, the people producing the gas that we need, they cut production because they didn’t need to supply us with gas since we weren’t driving," said Alexcia Chambers, from gas saving app GetUpside. "Now, it’s a matter of playing catch up.”
Now that more people are getting vaccinated, more people are hitting the road and filling up their tanks far more frequently than before. Increased demand combined with a limited supply equals higher gas prices.
Unfortunately, it’s happening with the busy summer travel season just a few months away.
“Right now, we’re starting to level off and we see these strong trends for vaccine rollout so we anticipate prices will stay at the same level of what we’re seeing now,” said Chambers.
“Without additional oil supply this summer" added DeHaan, "we could see $3 a gallon common place in Miami.”
So, hopes of seeing summer time savings at the gas pump might be wishful thinking. But, there are ways you can save, and of course, there’s an app for that.
Actually, two of them: GasBuddy and GetUpside.
“Anyone can download it and report prices," said DeHaan. "That, in turn, helps everyone find those lower priced stations and avoid those higher priced station.”
Simply open the GasBuddy app, search the area you’re in, and then find the lowest price. The company also offers a free gas card that links to your checking account, and gives you cash back on your purchase.
"You can save up to 25 cents a gallon and nowadays, anything you can save is significant,” said DeHaan.
Cash back is the main benefit of GetUpside, another money saving free app that not only finds the cheapest gas but also gives you up to 25 cents back per-gallon.
There’s no catch, said Chambers.
"We do what we say we do," she added.
Chambers said GetUpside users in Miami-Dade County alone have claimed more than 125,000 cash back offers in just the past month.
Both GetUpside and GasBuddy are free to download and available for iPhone, Android and other smart phones.