Labor Day gas prices leveling off but higher than a year ago
BY KEN KRALL WXPR News
Gas prices have inched upward as the last major driving weekend of the summer approaches.
Senior petroleum analyst for the website gasbuddy.com, Patrick DeHaan, says rising oil prices are pushing gas prices higher.
The price of a barrel of crude oil is $69 dollars a barrel, up $3 a barrel earlier this month.
“A lot of optimism concerning the U.S. economy as the U.S. makes a deal with Mexico,” DeHaan said. “There (are) prospects that in the months ahead, the U.S. will make a trade deal with China as well, bolstering the strength of the U.S. economy and thus contributing to higher oil prices.”
The average gas price over the Labor Day weekend is forecast to be $2.84 a gallon, 20 cents higher than one year ago.
He said the volume of traffic decreases after Labor Day and other forecast changes will likely mean gas prices dropping a bit in the short term.
“They will likely begin to deflate with the conclusion of the summer driving season which wraps up Labor Day weekend,” DeHaan said. “We transition back to cheaper winter gasoline come mid-September. We likely will see some relief in the next few weeks but I’m sure it won’t be enough to satisfy many motorists who still remember the price of $1.99 or less we’ve seen over the past few years.”
DeHaan added that the higher prices didn’t deter summer drivers. This year has been a record for the number of miles traveled. He says one offset to the higher prices is the growing number of more fuel efficient vehicles.
But the international situation has contributed to the higher prices.
“One of the biggest reasons for higher prices this summer versus last summer is the fact that OPEC continues to keep production closely capped to keep oil prices higher.”
On average, motorists shelled out more than $1.1 billion per day on gasoline purchases up nearly 20 percent from just two years ago.