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Gas prices

GasBuddy says gas prices are likely to start declining, while the Energy Information Administration is predicting rising prices into summer.

You've likely already seen the highest gas prices of the year.

Or, prices may keep rising into the summer.

It depends on who you believe.

On Thursday, gas price-tracking website GasBuddy.com said prices should start falling in the next few days and most areas should see lower prices by Memorial Day.

That would be good news, considering the last time gas prices increased this much since the first of the year was 2011.

“We’re cautiously optimistic now that the worst is behind us and relief is on the horizon for nearly every area in the country," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. "Motorists shouldn’t get too impatient — this won’t happen overnight — but as stations begin to fill their tanks with slightly cheaper gasoline, they’ll begin to pass the savings on, just in time for Memorial Day and beyond.”

Gas prices have been rising due to a number of factors, including rising oil prices and rising demand, and that has been exacerbated over the past couple of months by seasonal refinery maintenance.

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Now that that maintenance is mostly done, it should lead to lower prices, GasBuddy said.

Not everyone agrees that prices are headed down, however.

Earlier this week, the Energy Information Administration raised its forecast for nationwide average gasoline prices through September to $2.92 a gallon from $2.76 a month ago.

If the new forecast is right, prices will average 7 cents more than last summer, partly due to higher margins for refining gasoline.

Gas prices averaged just under $2.88 a gallon nationally as of Thursday, according to AAA, essentially the same as a week ago. That's about 4 cents higher than at this time last year.

The average price in Nebraska was a dime lower, at $2.78, which was also the same as last week and 4 cents more than a year ago.

Lincoln's average price as of Thursday was $2.79 a gallon, down almost 2 cents from a week ago and 3 cents higher than a year ago.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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