MASON CITY, Iowa – Sticker shock at the pump is a sure sign of spring and while motorists say they have come to expect this price jump when the weather gets warmer, it still never ceases to surprise them.
Mason City resident Steve Linderman says that the springtime gas prices have led to an entirely new budget.
“I wanted to stop at $20 today,” he says, “just because Thursday’s payday and you’ve got to budget.”
In Iowa, prices have jumped five cents over the past month and Minnesota prices have been fluctuating over the past couple of weeks.
While the changes might seem subtle, these prices are certainly not going unnoticed.
For folks who work with GasBuddy.com, these prices are pretty standard for this time of year.
“Sometimes hard to forecast gas prices but this is one of the times of the year prices spring forward in the spring and fall in the fall months,” says senior analyst Patrick DeHaan.
Switching fuels from a winter to a spring blend is one of the main factors the prices are on the rise, but DeHaan says that plant maintenance and warmer temperatures are also factors for the increase.
While prices around town are high, and are still climbing, DeHaan says that there is a cheaper light at the end tunnel.
“This year we are a bit more optimistic than we have been in years past thanks mostly to arise in domestic crude oil production that certainly is helping keep a lid on oil prices.”
Filling up and driving around is a necessity for most, including Linderman who says that even though he’ll stick to his budget, there is no way around paying the higher prices.
Gas prices are expected to continue to rise heading into summer and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, they’re predicting the average price of gas for 2014 to be around $3.44.