Remember when gas prices were as low as $2 at the beginning of the year? If you are like me, you felt like you actually wanted to be the one to volunteer to drive whenever you and your friends had a road trip to plan for. Low gas prices means more cash in all of our wallets, as setting up budgets for fill-ups at the pump is a necessity for car owners.
This window of freedom is sadly coming to a close as we enter into the summer season. With gas pump prices closely tied to the price of oil per barrel, having the barrel prices rise means an inevitable and impending rise in prices for us at the pump. Although we can expect a bump upwards in pricing, what goes up must also come down. Here is what you can expect to see at the pumps this summer.
Yes they are, but first-
The bad news.
Yes, gas prices are rising from the unexpected dip that we experienced in and around February of this year, where the national gas price, according to source AAA, was an average of sub $2. Even as low as $1.50 in a handful of states.
This joyous time, as fellow motorists may have noticed is beginning to fizzle out as prices begin to climb upwards as we enter into the warm season of using the summer blend of gasoline. As I write this, the national average for gasoline balances out to a total of $2.375, with highs as far up as $2.81 and lows as far down as $2.01, which compared to the prices we experienced only a few short months ago, has quickly albeit steadily risen.
And now the good news.
There is good news for those of us who are feeling our collars tighten as we read that prices are steadily rising. Like any fever, it gets worse before it gets better again, and that’s just what gas prices will be doing for us as we move through to the end of the hotter months: the price will go back down.
Gasoline is a product like any other, and has price setters and indicators, as well as peak seasons in which it is comparatively in more demand than the other months. Since the beginning of summer is one of the busier times of the year for gas and fueling stations due to all the road trippers, graduation attenders, and overall road warriors due to schools being out and ceremonies to be attended, the price was raised to capitalize on the surplus of gas station fillips, but will return to its already low state and slip even lower.
Good news for all with the exception of – California
The price dropping and staying low is a result of overstock and refinery processes, which is good news for motorists all over the country—with the exception of California.
Due to the refineries around Los Angeles and other metropolises around the state having shutdowns and other difficulties with petroleum refining operations, along with the insanely high demand from the dense populations that surround said refineries, the prices of gas at the pump will remain high, and according to the specialists at GasBuddy.com, will remain high even after the rest of the country’s gas prices drop.
This kind of news is fantastic for those of us who dread filling up at the pump, unless you live on the west coast, of course. With prices that otherwise cause feelings of anger and tension, the price rise does have a finish line quickly followed by a downward stretch. In fact, according to EIA.gov, the price of gas is expected to continue to decrease towards the end of the summer and possibly into the end of the year.
Higher prices and the summer travelers.
Although the price of gas is rising steadily as we enter into the season of overheated cars and drivers, the price hikes are actually not a deterrent for those who plan on making road trips this summer. According to a WalletPath study, 64% of participants said that gas prices weren’t a factor in planning their vacation despite driving big cars over long distances.
According to our survey, many motorists are planning on hitting the open road for the long haul this summer, regardless of the highs and lows of the prices, with a staggering 37% or poll participants planning on driving over 500 to 1,000 miles with their vehicles. Despite the number being so high, alongside that fact that gas prices have hit an all-time low compared to the last 12 years, the price to drive off into the sunset with the family in tow actually has not created an issue for motorists in the decision on whether to drive to this summer’s far off destinations or not.
Of the people polled in the WalletPath survey, an average of 30% of participants all stated that the price of gas actually had nothing to do with their decision on whether to road trip or not. Summer being the time that most Americans make the most out of the newfound free time that is gained from schooling sessions being out for the kids, it is not hard to believe that a majority of Americans all intend to take some kind of vacation in their summer season.
Back to the WalletPath poll, participants averaged answers out to a 30.5% confirmation that they will take a summer vacation, regardless of the cost of gas. So no matter how good the prices look up on that roadside sign, the cost of a full tank actually has very little to do with the decision of taking a summer vacation or not.
How can we check where prices will be this summer?
For those trying to save the most on money this summer despite the slight inflation of gasoline, the good folks at AAA have devised a gas calculator that can save you money by identifying the cheapest locations for fill-ups. You can check out their handy calculator here, as it can help you figure out any possible routes that have the cheapest gas around as you plan your road trip this summer.
So despite how high the price of gas may be as we enter into the summer months, know that the price will peak and then drop before the end of the warm season, just in time for road trip season.
So in case you were trying to figure out the most cost effective manner of transport for you and your family’s vacation this summer, whether to drive out or fly, you’re decision may have become that much easier to make. See you at the pump!