Bad news: New Jersey gas prices could spike by as much as 15 cents per gallon in the near future, according to analysts.

On the bright side, if you want to look at it that way, even if prices do jump by that much, they'll still be much lower than they were a year ago.

So far this summer, the highest average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was recorded in mid-July at $2.19.

Since spending a few weeks in the $2.14 range, prices in the state have been inching up, to around $2.17.

"That has to do with oil prices that are close to their highest levels since coronavirus started — about $43 a barrel," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "Now with Hurricane Laura threatening the nation's refining method down in Texas and Lousiana, we could be seeing a price impact from that as well — an additional rise of perhaps 5 to 15 cents a gallon over the next week."

Refineries in the South have already been operating at reduced capacity because of Marco, another storm system impacting the area.

An analysis of gas prices by AAA records New Jersey's average pump price at $2.16 as of August 21, compared to $2.67 one year ago.

The coronavirus pandemic resulted in a significant drop in gasoline demand countrywide, which in turn meant lower prices at the pump for motorists for most of the year.

During a typical year, as refineries make their annual switch to a cheaper blend of gasoline for the cooler months and travel diminishes even further, drivers could expect gas prices to fall significantly through the winter holidays — anywhere from 10 to 35 cents per gallon, according to DeHaan.

"This year it's likely to be much smaller, simply because of coronavirus having already muted prices for a portion of the year," DeHaan said.

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