💲 New Jersey's average per gallon is 30 cents lower than the national average

💲 The gap is expected to close soon

💲 A jolt to gas prices could be followed by a period of stability at the pump

Enjoy this while it lasts: the average price of gasoline in New Jersey is significantly lower than the national average.

That'll change later this month, when you may end up paying as much as 40 cents more per gallon in the Garden State.

"The worst is yet to come for New Jersey," Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told New Jersey 101.5.

The main reason for the gap between New Jersey and national prices right now is the fact that the northeast region of the country hasn't yet switched over to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline, which is designed to be less susceptible to evaporation in the warmer months.

"But we are going to make that final switch in New Jersey in about two weeks," De Haan said. "And with it there likely will be a jump in gas prices ... and that could be a jolt of anywhere between 20 and 40 cents a gallon."

According to AAA, the average price for a gallon of regular fuel is $3.56 nationally, with most of the nation already working with the summer blend of gasoline. In New Jersey, as of Monday afternoon, the average price is 30 cents lower, at $3.26.

NJ gas prices going forward

The impact on gas prices from the transition is expected to be quick in New Jersey, but prices at the pump are expected to be steady once that's wrapped up.

In fact, prices could taper off from that jolt ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, depending on the price of oil.

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In general, fuel prices are more expensive in the summer months due to demand.

"Hopefully it'll be a summer very similar to last year, with average prices in the middle to upper $3 range for much of the summer," De Haan said. "We shouldn't hit $4."

But there are wild cards that can send prices higher — tensions in the Middle East, for example, or extreme weather events such as hurricanes.

In the summer of 2023, gas prices rose nationally when heat waves disrupted operations at numerous refineries.

Experts are predicting a very active Atlantic hurricane season for 2024.

In March, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law that calls for a 1.9-cent increase in the state's gas tax in each of the next five years. The first increase should take effect in 2025.

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