Drivers can expect to pay more at the pump this year, as GasBuddy forecasts the highest prices in three years. Senior Petroleum Analyst Gregg Laskoski says right now the statewide average is $2.16, which is about 40-cents higher than a year ago, and he expects to see a spike later this winter and spring.

“We’re probably looking at prices that will climb 40 to 60 cents a gallon to the point at which they peak, but I don’t think you will see $3 gasoline in Louisiana,” Laskoski said.

Laskoski says the national average price of gas for the year will be about $2.49 a gallon, and in 2016 that average was $2.13. He credits an energy friendly president taking office with some of the increase. But he says the price hike is predominantly because of OPEC’s decision to cut back on production.

“As soon as they said that, we saw crude oil prices rise. Crude prices are at least $20 higher now than where they were before that OPEC announcement,” Laskoski said.

Laskoski expects prices to peak in May or June and the yearly average is expected to be 36-cents higher. But he says people can still save at the pump, whether or not prices are rising. He advises people to watch the prices in their neighborhood and look for the best deals. He says gas prices can vary greatly in a city.

“On any given day, you can have a difference of 30 or 40 cents a gallon between the highest 5% of prices and the lowest 5% of prices right in your own market,” Laskoski said.