AAA has reported that drivers will continue to pay lower prices at the pump based on year over year comparisons.
Despite the recent increase in fuel prices, consumers are still paying almost 40 cents less per gallon than this date last year.
According to a report from AAA, these fuel prices, which are still relatively low in a year over year comparison, are driving demand higher, and 2016 is still expected to become a record year for gasoline consumption along with annual miles traveled.
AAA reported that pump prices have increased two cents per gallon on the week, and 10 cents on the month, bringing the national average to $2.14 per gallon, the lowest for this date since 2009, which is 39 cents lower per gallon compared to this date last year.
Demand is expected to increase as the summer driving season approaches, and AAA indicates that whether prices will remain low will depend on the ability of refiners to keep pace with the expected demand increase. 2016 demand levels continue to outpace the 2015 levels on a year-to-date basis, and refiners must now increase gasoline production to meet demand levels. The extra demand may put excess strain on refinery equipment due to a higher number of refinery runs.
Many refineries have reported that, in preparation for the summer driving season, they are increasing production and monitoring equipment utilization rates closely, and, according to AAA, barring any unforeseen supply challenges and refinery production problems, drivers should pay some of the lowest prices for the summer months in over a decade.
Currently, California ($2.77) and Hawaii ($2.58) are paying the highest prices per gallon in the nation, while Texas ($1.90) and Mississippi ($1.91) are paying the nation’s lowest prices at the pump, AAA reported.