HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, COVID-19’s resurgence in China, and the threat of a worldwide recession make it hard to tell where gasoline prices are headed in 2023.

Just a few days into 2023, and some people are already feeling pain at the pump. In Huntsville, the average gasoline price has risen 14 cents per gallon in the last week.

“There are increases coming for us in the year ahead, but again… prices as a whole will likely average below what they did in 2022,” said Patrick de Haan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis. “Huntsville – just one of the areas where we’re seeing the national average is also up about 10 cents in the last week.”

The average price of gasoline in January is expected to be $3.04 a gallon, dropping to just below $3 in February. It’ll climb again in March as it reaches its estimated peak in the summer.

“We’ll probably see a little bit of pain at the pump this summer, not as much as last year, but then closing out the year gas prices are going to fall in the autumn,” De Haan explained. “They always do because of falling demand.”

Several experts believe the world economy is headed for a recession. De Haan says even if it’s regional, an economic downturn could have a huge effect on the price of oil and gasoline.

“A recession could slow down consumption of things like oil and gasoline,” he continued. “It would likely mean fewer Americans have jobs that they drive to. It would also likely mean that Americans have less disposable income — means they’d take less road trips, they’d buy fewer goods that are transported by things like diesel and gasoline.”

“Overall, the severity of a recession would have implications for overall demand,” he concluded.

At this time, De Haan says gas prices are relatively low. He says we still have about six to eight weeks where prices could go down a little bit more.