ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Gas prices are a hot topic of conversation as Illinois drivers are bracing to pay more at the pump in 2023.

According to GasBuddy though, drivers are expected to be better than they were last year. In June 2022, prices averaged $5.03 per gallon. Just a month ago, gas dropped to just over $3. Then came the new fuel tax that took effect on Jan. 1.

Illinois drivers are now paying 42 cents more per gallon. In Rockford, gas was selling for around $3.34 as of Jan. 2.

In a news release, head of petroleum analysis Patrick De Haan said although 2023 won’t be a cakewalk, the national average gas price is expected be dip nearly $1 below where it was last year.

“The national average could breach $4 per gallon as early as May – and that’s something that could last through much of the summer driving season,” De Naan said. “Basically, curveballs are coming from every direction. Extreme amounts of volatility remain possible, but should become slightly more muted in the year ahead. I don’t think we’ve ever seen such an amount of volatility as we saw this year, and that will be a trend that likely continues to lead to wider uncertainty over fuel prices going into 2023.”

California could see fuel reach $7 a gallon this summer but most cities will see prices peak at $4 a gallon. Illinois will likely pay $4.12 per gallon by June.

Consumers are expected to spend $470.8 billion on gasoline in 2023. In 2022, they spent $526.3 billion spent in 2022 and $280.0 billion in 2020.