Gas prices will continue to rise next year, potentially reaching a dreaded national average of $4 per gallon before they come back down, industry analysts said Thursday.
In a report shared with CNN, a forecast from GasBuddy, an app that tracks gas prices nationally, predicted that the national average price for a gallon of gas will reach $3.41 in 2022, a full 40 cents more expensive than the current national average of $3.02 a gallon.
Analysts say prices will reach a peak of at least $3.79 in May before they start to decline, and possibly more.
"We could see a national average that flirts with, or in a worst-case scenario, potentially exceeds $4 a gallon," Patrick De Haan, the director of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told CNN.
GasBuddy predicts that prices will begin to level off at around $3.78 per gallon and then $3.57 per gallon in June and July, respectively, before dropping back to earth, CNN reported.
Economists have attributed inflating gas prices to Americans getting back on the road as coronavirus pandemic restrictions have eased. People are taking their cars to go to work, go out, and visit friends and family, and that means they need gas.
"Demand has come roaring back," De Haan said, explaining that "supply is still catching up after getting cut greatly in 2020."
The expected price increase is disappointing news, considering that gas prices have been slowly decreasing over the past few weeks. According to the American Automobile Association tracker, the national average price gas fell to $3.29 per gallon on Monday, down from $3.42 on Nov. 8.
The Biden administration has taken credit for for the relief in gas prices, citing President Joe Biden's decision to release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroluem Reserve on Nov. 23
But the administration has urged oil produces to do more to increase supply and drive prices down, after initially resisting calls to do so.
At a meeting of the National Petroleum Council earlier this month, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called on domestic oil and gas executives to step up, the Washington Examiner reported.
“While I understand that you may disagree with some of our policies, it doesn’t mean that the Biden administration is standing in the way of your efforts to help meet current demand,” Granholm said. “Please take advantage of the [federal land drilling] leases that you have. Hire workers, get your rig count up."