Abstract：The U.S. gas prices remain steady at $3.65 per gallon as Memorial Day approaches. This drop in prices is linked to reduced gas demand and fuel usage. The East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Midwest regions experience lower prices, while prices remain high in the west. Experts predict robust travel demand during the summer, with gas prices remaining steady barring significant weather disruptions.
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, American motorists are greeted by a steady trend in gas prices, with the average price of gasoline per gallon being $3.65 nationwide as of May 22, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported. This figure is a 12-cent decrease from a month prior and considerably lower, by over a dollar, compared to the same time last year. In June last year, average gas prices had hit a high of $5.11 per gallon.
The softening in gas prices as we head into the long weekend is primarily due to a decrease in both gas demand and fuel usage, explained Tom Kloza, OPIS Global Head of Energy Analysis.
However, it's important to note that some regions of the country are witnessing steeper prices than others. The East Coast, Gulf Coast, and the Midwest are currently enjoying the most noticeable drop in average gas prices, where per-gallon costs hover around $3.48, $3.12, and $3.54 respectively.
Conversely, on the far side of the country where fuel prices are typically the highest nationwide, the decline in gas prices has been less pronounced over the past month, currently standing at $4.61 per gallon.
Predictions suggest American consumers will spend approximately $1.6 billion less on gasoline this holiday weekend compared to the previous year, according to Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. De Haan attributes the shift to fluctuations in the price of oil, spurred on by the ongoing discussions over the nation's debt ceiling.
Despite this, De Haan expects gas prices to edge up slightly as we near Memorial Day, particularly if optimism surrounds the debt ceiling discussions in Washington D.C. Conversely, a more pessimistic outlook could push prices slightly lower.
AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross also noted the potential impact of the debt ceiling negotiations on gas prices, albeit indicating it was “probably too soon” for consumers to feel the effects.
Gross highlighted the importance of Memorial Day as an indicator for the summer travel season, asserting that if travel demands were high over the holiday weekend – as AAA projects – it could signal a vibrant summer travel period.
Despite Washington's ongoing uncertainties, Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, expects demand for travel to remain buoyant over the Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer. He pointed out that anticipated traveler numbers are nearing pre-pandemic levels.
While Pishue acknowledged that gas prices are still high relative to historical averages, Kloza ruled out a continuous drop in gas prices as experienced last summer. He reassured that unless severe weather conditions like hurricanes strike in July or August, Americans are unlikely to face exorbitantly high gas prices.
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