U.S. gasoline spending could spike by $50 billion in 2017

U.S. motorists are expected to spend $50 billion more to fill their tanks this year as rising oil prices put an end to sub-$2 a gallon gasoline, squeezing consumer finances just as wages begin to rise.

Gasoline costs are expected to surge nearly 20 percent this year – they’re already up by 20 cents a gallon in the past month – following the Nov. 30 decision by OPEC to cut crude production, according to a forecast released Wednesday by GasBuddy, which tracks fuel pricing.

Many economists compare rising gasoline prices to tax increases, which take money from Americans who otherwise might spend it in stores, restaurants and other consumer businesses.

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