Soaring gas prices have had Americans wondering when they will begin to lower. According to forecasts from professionals at AAA, that may unfortunately be happening no time soon. As summer approaches, bringing a high demand for gasoline as many prepare for summer vacations as well as a different blend of gas to the pump, the seasonal changes are yet another factor to blame for high prices.

“Refineries are switching over now between winter blend of fuel to summer blend of fuel, and the difference is how it evaporates in different temperatures," said AAA Western and Central New York public relations director Elizabeth Carey. "The summer blend is always more expensive to produce, and so gas prices are always cheaper in the winter when we’re using that winter blend.”

What You Need To Know

  • Fluctuating gas prices remain high and AAA professionals predict the nation may not see a dip until around Memorial Day

  • New York state gas prices are on par with the national average and are lower than other parts of the U.S., like California

  • Seasonal changes, tensions with Russia, and "post-pandemic" spikes in oil prices are all contributors to higher gas prices

In addition to the weather, there are other factors involved in the high numbers at the pumps, with one of the biggest culprits being oil, as opposed to gasoline. Tensions abroad have been a large contributor, with the war in Ukraine mirroring tensions in the Middle East in 2013, when gas prices surged as well.

“When the tensions began to rise between Russia and the Ukraine, Russia threatened to hold back oil from the global market, there was a reaction with the global market and those oil prices shot up over a hundred dollars a barrel,” Carey said.

Also, oil prices have spiked again after dipping during the height of the pandemic, when the nation’s use of the resources reduced drastically. With commute becoming more expensive, the nation may begin to see more Americans opting to work from home again, especially those who would rather fill up their tanks for leisure.

"What we see is people wanting to save money on that daily commute,” Carey said. “But when it comes to road trips, spring vacations and summer vacations, people say, we're going to pay these prices and we're still going to go because there's such a pent-up demand for travel because people couldn't travel for a long time during the pandemic.”

As of Sunday evening, data from AAA showed New York state prices at an average of about $4.20, about a nickel higher than last week. It's a jarring number for many, as the four-dollar threshold has been deemed the tipping point now according to research from AAA. However, the state may not be doing as bad at the pumps as many people think compared to the rest of the nation