Labor Day Gas Prices Fall to Lowest Level Since 2010

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 05:17 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Most Americans who plan to travel by automobile over the Labor Day holiday weekend can expect to pay the lowest price to fill their tanks in four years, according to a study by GasBuddy.com.

Analysts with GasBuddy, which provides retail fuel pricing information and updates daily fuel prices at nearly 130,000 unique stations in the United States and Canada, predict that the downward trend in gas prices which began in July is not likely to continue until autumn.

"We expect to see stable gasoline prices from now through mid-September," said GasBuddy chief oil analyst Tom Kloza. "Some more significant declines could come after September 15 when the 'recipe' for gasoline changes in most states."

Due to price adjustments at regional refineries, state around the Great Lakes will see higher prices than other travelers.

The number of people flying on U.S. airlines in the seven days surrounding the Sept. 1 holiday will rise 2 percent from 13.8 million a year earlier, Washington trade group Airlines for America said in a statement.

"Demand for offshore crude is on a severe downslope that may be accentuated by refinery maintenance in September and October," added Kloza. "While there is a possibility of a surge in global oil prices, the probability is that values will remain temperate until winter."

Not all Americans will encounter cheap gas because regional retail gasoline prices in the United States vary significantly. For example, as of August 25, prices were lowest on the Gulf Coast ($3.24/gal) and highest on the West Coast ($3.83/gal), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

States located in the Gulf Coast region often see lower gas prices because of the Gulf Coast's proximity to half the nation's refining capacity and because those states do not rely on supply transferred from other U.S. regions or imported from the global market.

According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, as of August 25, the retail price for gasoline is down in 44 states and Washington D.C., with the largest savings seen in: Illinois (-6 cents), Pennsylvania (-5 cents), Washington D.C. (-4 cents) and New Jersey (-4 cents). 

Six states saw an increase in prices, but it was fairly minimal. For example, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana only saw a three-cent increase.

West Coast states pay higher prices at the pump as a consequence of more restrictive gasoline specifications in California, the region's dominant market.

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