Gas prices are affected by many factors, but one large factor is supply versus demand. If suppliers decide to limit production*, or if demand for gas rises, the prices will increase. In general, gas is more expensive during the summer travel months** and cheaper in the winter months.
* One example of a production cut occurred in December, 2008. OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) agreed to reduce their daily production of oil in an effort to place a floor on falling oil prices. Following this cut, the national average of gas prices increased over 50% within several months ($1.60/gallon by the end of 2008 to $2.50/gallon in 2009). Within the next two years, the average price rose by 150% ($4.00/gallon in April of 2011). You can read more about this production cut in this LA Times article: OPEC Agrees to Another Cut in Production
** A few examples of the seasonal price change that happened at the end of February, 2016:
- LA Times: California gas prices expected to jump overnight, possibly 30 cents by weekend
- The Denver Post: Colorado sees gas price hike due to switch to summer fuel blend
- The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio’s average gas price up slightly to $1.77 a gallon
- News9: Average Gas Price In Oklahoma Rises 17 1/2 Cents In Past Week