BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Filling up your gas tank has been costing more and more over the past few weeks, and experts say it will only get worse heading into the summer driving season.
Gas prices are already $.50/gallon higher this year over last, and in Western New York gas costs about $.30/gallon more than the national average.
"For Buffalo...we've projected a price range of $4.10 to $4.50 a gallon," says Gregg Laskoski, a Senior Petroleum Analyst at GasBuddy.com.
For some area residents, that's a tough pill to swallow.
"It's already tight as it is and for it to go up that much would just be crazy," said Ted Canaski.
"I'm going to have to do some budgeting."
The rising costs can be attributed to a number of factors, including the closing of a number of refineries, tensions in the oil-rich Middle-East, especially in Syria and Iran, and increased demand in countries like China and Brazil.
And despite a drop in oil demand in the U.S., should peace in the Middle East deteriorate, gas prices would skyrocket further.
"A military attack on Iran would result in $200 a barrel crude oil. If crude were to go to $200 in May, you can $2.50 to whatever the current price of gasoline is," Laskoski says.
One way to minimize that volatility is to increase domestic oil supply, experts say. That's something that the Keystone Pipeline could have helped achieve.
"Keystone in the long-term can probably do an awful lot to bring more affordable oil into the U.S., from an ally in North America," explains Laskoski.
One way to help ease the pain to ensure tires are filled to full inflation levels and ensure wheels are properly aligned. Laskoski also says it helps to remove any extra weight from your vehicle.
Experts say prices may not begin to drop until as late as October or November later this year.
Here is the latest from Gasbuddy.com:
Buffalo, February 19- Average retail gasoline prices in Buffalo have risen 4.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.80/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 4.5 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.51/g, according to gasoline price website BuffaloGasPrices.com.
Including the change in gas prices in Buffalo during the past week, prices yesterday were 47.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 17.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 17.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 35.0 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.
"Gasoline prices have perked up a bit in the last week," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "As we continue to move towards warmer weather, gasoline prices will follow, with prices accelerating higher at a faster pace come late March into April, so if motorists think this is bad, they should really hold on to their chairs," DeHaan said.
GasBuddy operates BuffaloGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.