2013 Ford Mustang, Mustang convertible
Photo courtesy of Ford.

With the temperatures warming and sunlight lasting longer, the summer driving season is seemingly upon us. Unlike last year, however, gas prices are expected to drop throughout the summer months. According to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas prices between April and September are predicted to average $3.63 per gallon this year.

The EIA reports that this summer’s projected fuel price is lower than it has been the last two years. In 2012, the average price per gallon was $3.69, and in 2011 it was $3.71. Kicking Tires notes that a major reason for the drop is lower crude oil prices, “which account for two-thirds of the price of gas at the pump. …”

summer gas prices
Average summer gasoline prices. Photo courtesy of U.S. EIA.

According to the EIA, gas prices are predicted to fall throughout the summer, starting at $3.69 per gallon in May and dropping to $3.57 by September. “Customarily, it takes anywhere between 1-2 weeks for falling crude prices to filter their way downstream to retail gasoline,” CNBC reports. “If the drop in crude is sustained, it could mean gas prices could see some relief by early May.” However, some analysts say that most gas stations still have to switch from winter fuel to the slightly costlier summer blend, which may mean that prices won’t fall as quickly as anticipated.

Compared with 2012, the EIA notes that there is slightly less demand for gasoline this year since vehicles have become more fuel efficient. The agency says that prices will vary by region, with the least expensive gasoline available in the Gulf Coast area, and the most expensive on the West Coast.

Mazda Miata, convertibles, MX-5
2013 Mazda Miata. Photo courtesy of Mazda.

If news of lower gas prices and warming temperatures has you thinking about buying a convertible, there are some good deals available. This month, you can get good deals on the 2013 Ford Mustang and Mazda Miata, two convertibles that both perform well in our affordable convertible rankings. The Mustang convertible starts at $27,200 and is available with zero-percent financing for five years. If you’d prefer a lease, you can get a Miata for $299 per month for three years with $0 down and no first month’s payment. The Mustang achieves an EPA-estimated 19/30 mpg city/highway, while the Miata gets up to 22/28 mpg city/highway.

In the market for an affordable convertible? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.