Now that the roads aren't covered in snow and ice, Raenelle Miller is ready to take a trip — even if it's a short one.
"I might make it across the Mason-Dixon line," the 53-year-old Shrewsbury resident said. "But after the winter we've had, that seems like a big deal."
As Northeast residents thaw out after a harsh winter, they're hitting the roads and driving up demand for gasoline, according to AAA.
That higher demand will lead to higher gas prices, analysts said.
Gas prices will slowly increase through April and will not decrease until after Labor Day, said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.
"When we get to the summer driving season, prices may not peak, but they won't drop. They will stay high through the summer months," he said.
But analysts also predict prices won't be as high as they were last year.
"Overall, we think prices will be about 10 cents less (per gallon) than they were last year," Laskoski said.
That prediction was already proving true across Pennsylvania and the U.S. on Monday.
Prices: The Pennsylvania average was $3.62 on Monday, compared to $3.66 the same day a year ago, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. And the U.S. average was $3.56, compared to $3.64 a year ago, according to the report.
But the York average bucked the trend. The average price was $3.54 on Monday, slighly higher than the $3.52 average the same day a year earlier, according to the AAA report.
Still, Laskoski expects the York area will finish the summer at a lower price than in 2013.
"Since the beginning of the year, energy production has been quite strong because of an energy boom in the U.S. and Canada," he said.
For example, South Dakota and West Texas have been saturating the market with crude oil, Laskoski said.
"There's a tremendous amount of growth," he said.
Shipley Energy spokesman Bob Astor isn't sure if gas prices will be lower this year, but he expects them to be on a par with last year's prices.
"There's no foreseeable reason for prices to get out of hand," he said.
He agreed with Laskoski about there being "plenty of crude oil" on the market.
"Unless there's a weather event that puts a refinery out of service or some geopolitical factor, prices will probably be similar to last year," Astor said.
Peaks: Last year set the earliest peak on record for gas prices when the national average jumped to $3.79 on Feb. 27, according to AAA.
In 2012, prices peaked at $3.94 on April 5, and in 2011 prices peaked at $3.98 on May 5.
This year, the agency expects prices to peak in early April between $3.55 and $3.75 "due to seasonal refinery maintenance and the approaching switchover to producing summer-blend gasoline that is required by May 1," said AAA spokesman Michael Green.
Thinking of the higher gas prices is a bummer, Miller said, but it won't keep her off the roads.
"You no sooner get the snow off your car before you have to worry about the gas prices going up. But at least it's warmer, right?" she said.
—Candy Woodall at firstname.lastname@example.org.