AAA: Don't expect lower gas prices in 2013

Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:48:40 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 02 2013 06:21:05 PM EST
Gas prices
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

AAA says drivers shouldn't expect gas prices to go down this year. They're expected to stay about the same, and at least for the first part of the year be even higher.

Experts say it's all because of the fiscal cliff deal.

This is how Rebecca Jerido, a home health care worker, describes gas prices in 2012.

"Disaster, because the higher they went, the longer I have to travel to work, the more gas I had to use, so I was defeating my purpose by having to buy gas all the time," Jerido said.

Last year, people paid a record amount at the pump. Nationally, the average was $3.60 a gallon, surpassing the previous record high of $3.51 in 2011.

"It took up my bill money," Jerido said. "I'm only on a certain income level anyway, you know, so I have to go to work, and sometimes it kept me from jobs that I could make some money at to survive."

Experts say 2013 will bring more of the same high prices, and for Chris Carpenter, who works in the the food service industry, the fuel prices affect food prices.

"The transportation costs with the amount of diesel fuel affects our pricing and stuff like that, so we expect the price of poultry and stuff to rise," Carpenter said.

Dave Cawton, of AAA in Jacksonville, says there will be fluctuations, so prices could be lower, but it's too soon to tell. But for the beginning of the year, the new fiscal cliff deal will keep prices even higher.

"It really means that gas prices are going to go up, because it shows that we have a stronger economy," Cawton said. "There's going to be more optimism in the market, so demand is going to go up a little bit more."

"In the short term, we are going to see prices go up, but it's definitely not a long term thing," Cawton added.

AAA says the national average of gas prices is currently about 10 cents higher than it was this time last year, but in 2012 prices fluctuated. Expect the same in 2013.

AAA also noted that talk from Washington D.C. about more fiscal cliff discussions in February and March could affect pricing.