Gas prices continue to increase across the country with nearly every state’s average increasing by an average of 4 cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.
The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2 a gallon was in 2003. That year motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill-up.
“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel.”
Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.
For the first time in 20 years, AAA won’t issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to COVID-19 impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast, Casselano said.
Consumers can expect gas prices to continue get more expensive, possibly hitting $2 a gallon in the next few weeks, she said. This is mostly due to demand increasing as states reopen.
This week also brings the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid vapor pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels.
Usually, the switch to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of covid-19 on demand and crude oil prices, Casselano said.