TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gas prices could hit the $4 mark or higher later this year, according to a recent fuel forecast from price monitoring company, GasBuddy.

While the report forecasts the national average price of gas in 2023 to drop 50 cents per gallon to $3.49, it adds a $4 national average remains possible ahead of and during the summer driving season.

“2023 is not going to be a cakewalk for motorists,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “It could be expensive. The national average could reach $4 per gallon as early as May – and that’s something that could last through much of the summer driving season.”

Last year marked a tumultuous year for gas prices, however, De Haan says continued improvement in refinery capacity could help alleviate gasoline and diesel prices. But high levels of uncertainty remain amidst Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine and continuing economic concerns.

GasBuddy predicts gas prices will fall early in the year as demand remains seasonally weak, followed by a rise that starts in late winter, bringing prices to the $4 per gallon range in time for summer.

“Barring unexpected challenges, prices in 2023 should return to normal seasonal fluctuations, rising in the spring, and dropping after Labor Day into the fall,” the report adds.

The highest gasoline prices are forecast to be seen in June, with an estimated peak of up to $4.19 per gallon on average.

Diesel prices are also forecast to rise to an average of $4.12 in 2023, beginning the year at their highest level and then rebounding as high as $4.30 per gallon in June.

According to AAA, the national average for a regular-grade gallon of gas was $3.21 on Monday, Jan. 2. Diesel was $4.67.