Drivers can expect to pay more at the pump in 2017

Gas pump

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Drivers can expect to pay a bit more at the pump in 2017. A Purdue University expert said gas prices this year will be somewhat higher than they were last year.

“Gas has been pretty cheap,” said Cory Wooton. “It’s been great.”

It’s no surprise drivers were happy to see lower gas prices for most of 2016.

“It’s awesome. I actually work across town,” said Whitney Tudor. “I’m a Purdue student then I drive all the way out by Meijer on 26, so it’s really nice that I’m not spending my whole paycheck just driving out there.”

But prices at the pump could increase as we head into 2017.

According to Purdue University Energy Economist Wally Tyner, the increase is because the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, agreed to cut production of crude oil in 2017 by $1.5 million barrels per day.

Tyner expects gas prices to range from $2.25 to $2.55 per gallon throughout the year.

Tyner said prices still won’t be as high as they were in 2014 when the national average was $3.71 per gallon.

But the news about the increase wasn’t exactly what drivers wanted to hear.

“Obviously, I’d rather spend my money doing something else,” said Tudor.

“It doesn’t really hurt me too much,” Wooton said. “Because I don’t drive very far for work, but I know a lot of people who have to drive an hour to work, you know. It will really affect them, but hopefully it doesn’t go up too much.”

Tyner also expects to see a hike in natural gas prices. He said home heating prices could increase by 10 percent in 2017.