The national average started 2014 at $3.31 per gallon — highest prices ever to start a year. But 2013 finished with an annual average of $3.49 per gallon, around 10 cents per gallon less than 2012, according to WEX Inc.
Prices should recede slightly in January as refineries look to purge winter blend gasoline, says WEX. For spring, market watchers suspect a tamer peak due to new refineries and a boom in domestic crude oil.
However, most analysts predict 2014 will see volatility, says WEX. Furthermore, regional variances will be greater — the midsection of U.S. expects lower prices while coasts will see more extremes.
Meanwhile, diesel prices are expected to increase due to cold weather and utilities using diesel for heat.