SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Let’s fill up on another question about gas prices.

Will we see a return to $4 a gallon?

Currently, the Syracuse average for a gallon of gas is about $3.50, according to AAA.

Patrick De Haan, Head Petroleum Analyst for GasBuddy, said he anticipates a “strong upward trend” with gas prices come late February or early March.

He said we could see a $4 average in March or April, which is earlier than previously expected.

De Haan first thought we could potentially hit the $4 mark in May, but China reopening its economy after years of COVID restrictions has now pushed the timeline up.

“If we do hit $4, it still going to be much lower than we saw last year, potentially. But keep in mind, there’s still a lot of things that could change that are completely subject to global market supply and demand balances. If COVID cases surge in China or it goes back to a COVID zero-based policy, that could greatly impact their consumption of products,” De Haan said.

De Haan said on top of China reopening its economy, Russia’s war on Ukraine is making global supply tighter. The Northeast could be hit particularly hard because it relies heavily on imported oil.

“You’re (Northeast) likely going to have to compete with Europe more. Europe might start to offer higher prices for the barrels that the East Coast gets. That could eventually push prices up in the Northeast,” De Haan said.

De Haan said we are also approaching refinery maintenance season, as refineries get ready to switch over to Summer gasoline. As maintenance is being performed, refineries are producing less product, which often impacts prices at the pump.

“Once we get beyond Memorial Day, most refineries are back online and most of them are producing all-out summer gasoline. So traditionally the peak in the price of the year happens in the time between late April and early to mid-June,” De Haan said.

He said once maintenance and transition to Summer gas are behind us, prices usually start to decline over the Summer months.

As always, De Haan’s predictions come with a warning.

He said the gasoline industry is a volatile one and that his predictions could change if economic conditions change.

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