As the year comes to a close, the forecast for 2018 is not a good one for drivers when it comes to gas prices.

According to GasBuddy, prices have risen in Livingston County and the surrounding area during the month of December and are expected to continue to rise. GasBuddy Senior Petroleum Analyst Pat DeHaan tells WHMI that problems at refineries in Illinois are to blame for much of the increase.

According to GasBuddy, a quick check of several area service stations showed a 20-cent per gallon difference between the low and high prices. The lowest gas prices were at the Costco station at US-23 and Lee Road at $2.55 per gallon and the highest price was $2.75 at the Speedway station on Old US-23 at M-59 in Hartland. In Metro Detroit, the average gas price is currently $2.61 a gallon, up 23 cents from a year ago.

For the coming year, the forecasters at GasBuddy are predicting that gasoline and diesel fuel prices will continue to rise in 2018 due to increasing global demand, decreased US crude oil inventories, and the decision by OPEC members and Russia to decrease oil output. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of crude oil followed by the US, with Russia third.(TT)