Fuel prices are expected to remain relatively low this summer, but there are a few factors that may cause them to shift higher in the coming months.
The summer driving season has officially begun, and drivers are currently paying the lowest gas prices for this date in 11 years.
According to a report from AAA, this year’s Memorial Day fuel prices were the cheapest since 2005. Despite the increase of 11 cents on the month, bringing the nation’s average to $2.32 per gallon, customers are currently paying 42 cents less per gallon than a year ago.
Industry analysts have projected that this year’s summer driving season will tout higher-than-normal gasoline demand, according to AAA. Nationwide, refineries are preparing for what is expected to be a record breaking summer, and pump prices are expected to remain relatively low, as long as refineries can keep pace with the demand.
Another factor that may play a role in the fluctuation of fuel prices during the summer driving season is the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1-November 30. AAA reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center projected that this year will likely be near normal, meaning that there will be 10-16 named storms, and four to eight may become hurricanes. If any of these severe storms or hurricanes were to reach land, production, refining and distribution could be impacted, which could lead to price spikes in regional markets along the coast, as well as in areas that rely on crude oil and refined product from these regions.
AAA reported that California and Hawaii remain the nation’s most expensive fuel markets, with averages of $2.81 and $2.70, respectively, while Mississippi and Texas are tied with the nation’s lowest average of $2.09, followed by South Carolina at $2.10.