Expect prices to be relatively stable compared to this year, says Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service.
Kloza said there is a good chance that 2019 will be book-ended by a very weak start for prices and a shaky finish, with prices around $2.35 to $2.40 a gallon at each end. In between, prices will likely rise for both crude oil and gasoline.
Kloza expects the highest prices should occur in the second and third quarters. He anticipates national averages in the $2.75 to $2.85 per gallon neighborhood, with perhaps a dozen or so high-tax states flirting with $3 a gallon or more at those times.
Western states, including some Rocky Mountain states, will probably move well above $3 gallon, led by California, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.
Gasoline demand should be relatively flat thanks to an aging population and more efficient vehicles.