Even with that gas tax hike, New Jersey's gas prices will be relatively low until the middle of next month. So says an oil expert, who also warns the "good ol' days" of 2016 are over.

"We do think that there will be a gasoline spike this year, and we do think that it will be more noticeable than any year since 2014," Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service said.

Kloza also said there was what he called a "sugar rush," that drove oil futures up briefly. He said that a lot of money comes into futures early in the year. But then the oil market went into what he calls "reverse mode," and dropped.

According to Kloza, increasing demand and OPEC production cuts starting this year will put pressure on pump prices. Near-term, "maybe we will see $2.75, $2.85, and that is probably true for New Jersey as well."

"We think that the real move (for prices) for gasoline, crude oil, diesel fuel, or whatever, occur later ... between, let's say President's Day and Memorial Day," he said.

Kloza said this will be a year that will be more expensive than last year, and modestly more expensive than 2015. We're starting of the year with gas prices at about $2.35 a gallon nationally, or about $2.44 a gallon in New Jersey.

Kloza says we would be on the low side of those pump prices, if not for the gas tax increase that we got in November, "and the fact of the matter was, there were 7 other states that increased gas taxes on Jan 1."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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