Prices at the pump are on the rise all across the country and it's no different in Wisconsin.
Grimacing while getting gas is a thing of the past. Many gas stations across southeast Wisconsin were below $2 per gallon earlier this year, but that is a distant memory.
"This is one of the biggest seasonal increases we've seen since 2012," Patrick DeHaan with GasBuddy said. "With at least a couple weeks to go before I expect a peak in price, we could certainly outpace 2012's seasonal high."
"I would not be happy about that," Laura Yale of Waukesha said. "I think it's a bad thing all around."
Gas prices are expected to jump up to $2.85-$2.95 per gallon in Wisconsin, more than 70 cents higher than it was in January ($2.03/gal).
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"I start to sob internally," Ralph Leavitt of Chicago said. "It just cracks me up. When I was a junior in high school, it was about 28 cents a gallon. Those were the good old days."
The increase is due to a couple factors. First, refineries are going through routine maintenance which takes some offline. Also, they must make a cleaner summer blend of gasoline that is more expensive. Lastly, oil prices have reached a five-month high.
"The price of oil touched $64 a barrel yesterday," DeHaan said. "For those keeping score, that's $21 a barrel higher than Christmas Eve, certainly a trifecta happening at once."
All of these numbers sound like dramatic increases, and they are, but DeHaan says it's a matter of perspective for why it stings a bit more this time around.
"It's almost like we got a dose of feeling really good," he said. "We set our context for the year on those ultra low, unrealistic prices. I would have loved to see them stick around but no where else in the country saw as many low prices as we did in the Great Lakes."
According to GasBuddy, the Great Lakes Region saw the greatest increases because of those extremely low prices.
2019 Increase in Price Per Gallon:
Michigan - 87 cents per gallon
Illinois - 76 cents per gallon
Indiana - 75 cents per gallon
Ohio - 75 cents per gallon
Wisconsin - 65 cents per gallon
The numbers sound dramatic, and they certainly can be depending on someone's situation. To put it in perspective, a TODAY'S TMJ4 news car gets about 23 miles per gallon and trip to Madison is roughly 180 miles round trip. At the prior low of $2.03 per gallon, round trip would cost $14.13 in fuel.
GasBuddy anticipates the price of gas will reach about $2.90 per gallon at its peak. The same trip would cost about $20.18, or a six dollar increase.
However, the pain will be temporary.
"We're in the 7th inning stretch of gas prices going up," DeHaan said. "We can see the end, but it's still a couple weeks away. May will be that month. We'll see prices peak in May and start to trail off in the end of May and into June."
DeHaan predicts the Wisconsin average won't hit $3 per gallon, although it may in Milwaukee. He expects prices to be somewhere south of $3 per gallon towards the end of summer, but don't expect to get near $2 per gallon any time soon.
"The peak price was just before Memorial Day," he said. "Then prices tapered off for the rest of summer, very slowly. Don't expect prices to drop 10 cents per gallon overnight but they'll start basically falling very slowly, so long as there are no issues. We may see it drift closer to the mid $2 per gallon level but certainly no prices under two dollars."