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Gas Prices Rise, Summer Travel Plans Plunge

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The national average gasoline price has continued to move higher, rising nearly five cents per gallon in the last week to $2.93 per gallon today, according to GasBuddy’s latest weekly survey of 135,000 gas stations. For the second straight week, average prices rose in all 50 states in the lead up to Memorial Day, the official start to the summer driving season.

The rise in gas prices has put a crimp in travel plans this summer as more Americans are planning staycations instead of hitting the road, according to GasBuddy’s 2018 Summer Travel survey. According to the annual survey, only 58 percent say they will take a road trip this summer, a 24 percent decrease from last year, while 39 percent cite high gas prices for impacting their summer travel decisions, compared to 19 percent in 2017.

“For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated that’s not true, especially as gas prices continue to climb,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “For the first time in years, the annual GasBuddy Summer Travel Survey revealed that higher prices are hurting the tradition of the summer road trip as we near a national average of $3 per gallon. It’s no shock as we continue to see higher prices in all of the nation’s 50 states. What especially rings true is that with such a big jump in prices, motorists are absolutely becoming more price conscious as they make plans this summer. High gas prices are starting to eat away at the travel plans of many, and the number will likely rise as gasoline prices appear poised to continue moving higher in the weeks ahead.”

The decrease in motorist’s appetite to hit the road comes at a time when the national average gasoline price is at its highest point since November 2014 due to a recent rally in oil prices because of long-term OPEC production cuts, the U.S. exiting the Iran nuclear deal, declining U.S. oil inventories, and high demand. Gas prices are expected to hit $2.95 per gallon on Memorial Day, a 50-cent increase over Memorial Day last year, costing motorists $1 billion more from Thursday to Monday alone. The impact of high gas prices will be felt well beyond Memorial Day.

“With refineries now well positioned for the summer months, we may see some relief in mid-June, but expect this summer to remain the priciest since 2014 with a strong likelihood of the national average hitting the psychological $3 per gallon barrier sometime this summer should we see any unexpected outages or geopolitical tensions flare,” said DeHaan.

Oil prices have continued to hold their ground above $71 per barrel as of Monday morning, contributing to the continued rise at the pump. Factors leading to the high prices: OPEC’s continued production cuts, turmoil and a drop in oil exports in Venezuela, the country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves, and questions about whether others will follow U.S. sanctions on Iran, which would make it difficult for Iran’s oil to reach global markets.

Looking state-by-state, the largest weekly changes in average gas prices were seen in: Minnesota (+8 cents), Illinois (+8 cents), Montana (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+8 cents), Ohio (+7 cents), New Mexico (+7 cents), North Dakota (+7 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Nebraska (+7 cents) and Oklahoma (+7 cents).

States with the lowest average gasoline prices: Mississippi ($2.60), Alabama ($2.63), South Carolina ($2.63), Arkansas ($2.63), Louisiana ($2.63), Oklahoma ($2.65), Tennessee ($2.67), Missouri ($2.67), Texas ($2.71) and Kansas ($2.71).

States with the highest average gasoline prices: California ($3.70), Hawaii ($3.64), Washington ($3.39), Nevada ($3.32), Alaska ($3.31), Oregon ($3.27), Utah ($3.18), Idaho ($3.12), Connecticut ($3.11) and Pennsylvania ($3.06).

GasBuddy is a smartphone app connecting drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. GasBuddy is the leader in crowdsourced information to help drivers find the best gas prices, closest stations, friendliest service, cleanest restrooms, tastiest coffee and much more. GasBuddy is the leading source for the most accurate, real-time fuel prices at more than 150,000 gas stations in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

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