Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

CA gas prices are highest in nation ahead of Memorial Day

CA gas prices are highest in nation ahead of Memorial Day

While the higher prices aren't expected to impact travel this weekend, with 1.8 million North Carolinians estimated to be out on the roads, according to AAA, the higher costs of fuel may begin to impact summer travel plans.

More than 41 million Americans are set to travel this Memorial Day weekend, almost 5 percent more than a year ago and the most in more than a dozen years, according to AAA. On average, gas is going for more than $2.90 per gallon, according to Gas Buddy.

The Transportation Security Administration said it expects this weekend will set the stage for a record-breaking summer travel season, with 243 million passengers and crew projected to pass through security checkpoints nationwide between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

However, many prices in the Triangle are below the state average.

"For every five miles an hour you're over 50 miles per hour, the vehicle uses more gas trying to fight the extra wind resistance", said Robert Sinclair with AAA.

Oil prices tumble on surprise jump in USA inventories
Crude imports were up by 558,000 Bbls and refiners produced less distillate fuel, which includes diesel and heating oil. Crude oil exports fell last week and refinery utilization rose ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

Townsend II of AAA Mid-Atlantic says 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday is "the worst time" to travel and "the best time to travel will vary from place to place" around the region.

USA and worldwide economic growth has been strong, driving demand for oil. "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". That dropped the next year to $2.74 a gallon and fell to $2.32 a gallon in 2016.

Gas prices typically increase in the spring as oil refineries undergo maintenance and prepare to produce lower-emission fuel blends for the peak summer driving months.

"Demand is red-hot", said DeHaan. Inside city limits, the average now stands at $3.39, compared with $3.29 a week ago and $2.57 at the same point in 2017. "This factors into the gasoline price". And the global petroleum market lately has been more swayed by geopolitical events than in recent years. The potential "double supply shortfall represented by Iran and Venezuela could present a major challenge for (other oil) producers to fend off sharp prices and fill the gap", the IEA says. Travel by train, bus, rail and cruise ship will increase by 1 percent, AAA said.

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