Stable gas prices expected to boost Memorial Day road trips

The average price for gasoline in Tennessee increased by fractions of a penny Thursday, snapping a 26-day streak of declines, for a total of 9 cents.

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, gas prices are increasing for the first time in weeks.

Comparing local gas prices to the national average of $2.39 per gallon, which is still substantially lower than the 10-year average of $3.15 per gallon, it's costing southeast Missourians less to fill up their tanks at the pump.

California leapfrogged Hawaii, where regular averaged $3.06, to become the most expensive state for gas at $3.10 for regular. EIA expects the 2017 summer season (April through September) gasoline price to average $2.39/gal, 16 cents higher than last summer. Sunday's national average price of $2.36 was 2 cents more than last week and 8 cents more than a year ago.

The price at many stations was in the $2.20s. Relatively low crude oil spot prices, weaker year-over-year gasoline demand, and high gasoline inventories have contributed to relatively low gasoline prices.

Regular gas prices are averaging $2.18 a gallon on the Missouri side of the metro area and $2.23 a gallon on the Kansas side, said Mike Right, AAA spokesman. Automobile travel will grow by 2.4 percent this Memorial Day, with 34.6 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. Based on its Memorial Day travel survey of 1,300 respondents, more than one-third will be traveling to their destinations on Friday.

"They did rebound a bit from their recent lows, but I don't see gasoline prices as an impediment to travel this summer". As of May 19, the four-week average USA gasoline demand is 9.4 million barrels per day, about 2% lower than the level this time a year ago.

However, he said, the recent rebound in gas prices has caused many people to reduce spending at restaurants.

The predictions were based on OPEC's decision to cut fuel production and an improving US economy that was expected to spark an increase in demand.

"Last week, oil prices rose when Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait backed a plan to extend the next round of production cuts to nine months instead of six", Jenkins said.

"It was because of the high price of oil five or ten years ago the USA came up with new drilling techniques", says DeHaan.

  • Joey Payne