Retail gasoline prices are expected to increase by as much as a nickel a gallon in the next few days on the heels of a jump in wholesale gasoline and crude oil prices.
The biggest increases will be in the Great Plains, the Southeast and other areas connected to Gulf coast supplies, said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service.
"They're going to go higher here in the next few days because essentially wholesale prices had a very strong week," said Kloza. "They've rallied in anticipation of the possibility of tropical weather in the Gulf."
California drivers likely will see the smallest change since prices there already are higher there than in much of the country .
"If we had (an) app, it would say, 'You might want to load up, your price is going to be higher next week,'" Kloza said.
The national average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was $2.718 Friday, down 0.5 cent from a week ago, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. For much of the week, the price has averaged about a quarter more than it was a year ago.
Travelers across the West are paying the highest prices, averaging from $2.853 a gallon to $3.497 a gallon. The lowest prices are in Texas, the Midwest and parts of the South.
Kloza predicted the national average would increase to $2.75 a gallon or perhaps a little higher next week.
Oil prices dipped Friday as worries eased about potential damage to Gulf Coast oil operations from Tropical Storm Bonnie.
The storm, expected to hit the Gulf of Mexico this weekend, has prompted some companies to evacuate crews from rigs. Dozens of ships that were working on a permanent fix for BP's damaged oil well already have been ordered to shore.