The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.67, up from $3.55 just one week ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. A month ago, the price of gas averaged $3.60 per gallon nationwide.
CNN Money spoke with Tom Kloza, the chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, about the recent upswing in gas prices. Kloza predicts that prices will continue to climb, and says there is a 50 percent chance that prices may surpass this year’s high of $3.79 per gallon, which was reached in February. One reason for the spike in prices is because we’re in the peak of the summer driving season, which has reduced the supply of gasoline. CNN Money also says that domestic oil refineries are operating at full capacity. If a refinery closes down for repair or is impacted by a hurricane or other summer storm, supplies may further tighten, which could also send the price up.
Luckily for drivers, prices may not climb that much higher. CNBC spoke with AAA representative Michael Green, who said that it is unlikely that most states will reach the $4 per gallon threshold. CNBC says there are a few tricks to save some money at the pump, including credit cards that offer money back on gasoline purchases, or using smartphone apps like GasBuddy or AAA TripTik, that show the best gas prices near you.
If you’re thinking about buying a new car that gets great fuel economy, automakers are offering some good deals this month. For example, you can finance a new 2013 Ford Focus at zero percent for three years and also get $1,500 cash back. With the SFE package, the Focus earns an EPA fuel economy rating of 28/40 mpg city/highway. Toyota is offering a good deal on the 2013 Prius this month as well, with zero percent financing for up to five years. The Prius is rated at 51/48 mpg city/highway.
This month, you can lease the 2014 Mazda CX-5 compact SUV for $299 or $309 per month for 36 months, depending on where you live, with no money down and no first month’s payment. The CX-5 is rated as high as 26/35 mpg city/highway. Or if you’d prefer diesel, Volkswagen is offering all of its 2013 models with zero percent financing for five years. A diesel-powered Golf TDI, for example, is rated at 30/42 mpg city/highway. Keep in mind that diesel fuel typically costs more than regular gasoline. Right now, diesel costs about 20 cents more per gallon.
In the market for a new car? 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.