It has been anything but a normal year for energy prices (and gas prices in particular) this year as the typical seasonal trends have been absent from the market. The chart below compares a composite annual YTD percentage change of average gasoline prices going back to 2005 to the performance of prices this year. While prices usually rise in the first half of the year, they were essentially flat in the first half of this year. Then, towards the end of the Summer, when prices usually start to fall, this year they saw a boost from the hurricanes that ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Beginning in mid-September, though, seasonal trends finally started to take hold, and beginning in November, gasoline prices finally started to perform in line with their seasonal pattern and have been tracking it ever since.
The table below compares the national average price of a gallon of gas to the national average at this point in prior years dating back to 2005. At a current national average price of $2.45, prices are up 5.1% YTD, which is right between the average and median YTD change going back to 2005. So while the road getting here was far from typical, 2017 is ending up as a pretty normal year for consumers at the pump.