Why Spring Is Critical Time for Gas Prices

While gas prices may be dropping, don't get too comfortable

Spring is actually a critical time of year at your neighborhood gas station.

With summer vacation around the corner, this is when gas prices traditionally start climbing to a mid-June peak at the pump.

When prices go up, most consumers look for ways to start saving money.

Some cut back on eating out. Others may shorten their vacations. Then there are those who look for different ways to get where they're going to get better mileage.

“I have friends who are trading in their SUV’s for motorcycles,” said Dennis Estoesta. “They’re down-grading to small Fiats. It’s just crazy.”

Estoesta was filling up his tank in Kearny Mesa Monday and said he’s a realist when it comes to rising gas prices.

“It’s going to slowly go up and you just got to take it,” he said. “You just got to pay for it."

Gas prices traditionally start going up in the spring and peak at the beginning of summer.

In fact, over the last 7 of 8 years we saw gas prices peak in mid-June.

Last year was an exception when prices hit an all-time record high in October.

"I think we're at the point now where $4 a gallon seems cheap," said analyst Charles Langley with the Utilities Consumer Action Network (UCAN). "I think by the end of next year, we may not raise an eyebrow at $5 a gallon."

Langley, who works with the oil industry watchdog organization UCAN, has said this could be a very expensive year for drivers.  Watch: 2013 Gas Prices Could Go High

So while we've actually watched prices drop over the last few weeks, we don't want to get too comfortable.

If history repeats itself, we will all be griping about prices by the end of the month.

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