GasBuddy predicts prices will rise 35-75 cents per gallon, before hitting a plateau in May.
There has been an "appreciable" rise in gasoline prices, with much of that traced back directly to the low value of crude at this time past year, McTeague told MarketWatch.
Prices usually start rising in early spring and keep going up through the summer, triggered by a seasonal switch to more expensive-to-make gasoline as well as annual refinery maintenance.
Hawaii has the highest average per gallon at $3.12 per gallon, while SC has the lowest at $2.04 per gallon, AAA reported Thursday.
That rise is about to start, said Dan McTeague, GasBuddy's senior petroleum analyst. "If we were to add the 5-year average increase we see during the spring, the national average would be thrust to $2.85 per gallon around Memorial Day, a 59-cent rise from the $2.26 per gallon observed February 9".
"California gas prices inched higher due to refinery maintenance last week, as Chevron shut down two production refineries in El Segundo and Richmond due to unplanned maintenance and problems with production equipment", John Moreno, spokesman for AAA Northern California, said in a statement released Tuesday. If that plays out this year, the national average for regular unleaded gas would be $2.85 a gallon by Memorial Day. Washington posted the third-highest price at $2.73 per gallon, behind Hawaii and California. Wisconsin was fifth with an increase of 86 cents per gallon, Minnesota was sixth.
Gas prices could increase significantly over the next few months.
US oil was trading at around $53 a barrel on Thursday, $10 higher than before OPEC's announcement and almost $20 higher than a year ago, when the average price for regular gas was less than $1.50 in three states and more than $2 in only five.
The average cost of gas hasn't topped $3 a gallon in Montgomery since fall of 2014. That's 50 cents more than this time a year ago. Average prices rose by 6 cents in IL, 7 cents in IN, 8 cents in OH and 10 cents in MI.