New Jersey drivers are coming to the end of the road for cheaper gas prices. But an industry expert says the spring and summer will not be all that bad.

The average price of regular in the state dropped 2 cents per gallon over the past week to $2.32 by Friday. But this period of lower pump prices will probably come to an end in the next 10 days.

Tom Kloza, of the Oil Price Information Service, says we will be paying more for gas a month from now.

"My best guest on March 13 is that we will be somewhere between $2.45 and $2.50."

He says right now, we are actually about 72 cents above last year.

Kloza says with OPEC cutting production, increased demand and refineries doing maintenance in the near term, pump prices will drift upward.

"We actually will see most of the refinery maintenance occur in late March and early April."

He says after that, it is going to be all about demand because we will have less supply coming into the second quarter, "and the question is: will demand be as strong as last year, or a little bit stronger, like some of the predictions are?"

According to Kloza, crude oil futures markets do not accurately predict the future, but the money flow seems to indicate that the people who really control the price — hedge funds and traders — will chase gasoline higher. And they will do that for a while before their patience runs out.

He says we will go higher, but not as high as, say, 2010 to 2014.

"It will just be considerably more expensive than last year, and a lot of that is reflected in the higher tax."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at Joe.Cutter@townsquaremedia.com

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