TAMPA, Fla. – Motorists found the lowest gas prices on Memorial Day in 11 years. The average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.32 nationwide, $2.25 in Florida, $2.27 in Georgia, and $2.16 in Tennessee. This year's average prices were 42 cents (US) and 39 cents (FL & GA lower than last year's holiday averages.
“Pump prices increased through the weekend, but not by enough to deter holiday travelers from taking a road trip,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Prices remained at levels not seen since 2005, leading to the most Memorial Day road-trippers since the same year. On average, drivers are saving $20 for a full tank of gas compared to this time two years ago when gas exceeded $3.60.”
Gas prices are encouraging Americans to drive more than ever before. Gasoline demand in April (most recent figures available) were the highest on record. This high demand and the rising price of crude are putting upward pressure on the price of gasoline. Since last Monday, the average price rose 3 cents in Tennessee, and 4 cents across the U.S. and in Florida and Georgia.
Crude oil prices are at 10-month highs. The U.S. benchmark (WTI) averaged $48.94 last week – $1.91 more than the week before, and the highest weekly average since July 24, 2015 ($49.26). Since hitting this year’s low of $26.19 in February, the price of oil rose 89 percent, settling at $49.48 on Thursday.
“Crude oil actually traded above $50 last week for the first time since October,” Jenkins said. “Prices were pushed higher by a report saying U.S. crude supplies fell more than expected, even though stocks remain higher than a year ago. Supply disruptions in Canada, Nigeria and Venezuela; and stronger demand in China, India and Russia are also influencing the market.”
Unless oil prices suddenly surge, motorists should find the lowest summer gas prices since 2005. Gas prices from June 1 - August 31, 2015, averaged $2.71 (US), $2.58 (FL), $2.57 (GA), and $2.45 (TN). During that period prices went from $2.75 (6/1) to $2.47 (8/31). So far this year, prices have followed last year's trends, and if that continues, prices will peak in mid-June. Last year, prices rose 7 cents between May 30 and June 15, the day when the national average reached the yearly peak of $2.80.