AAA: Drivers to see lowest Memorial Day gas prices in nearly two decades

aaaThe last time gas prices were below the $2 per gallon mark heading into the Memorial Day holiday was 2003. It’s almost a guarantee they will be below that low-water mark this weekend.

At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.

The average price at the pump on Memorial Day in 2003 was $1.50 a gallon, which translates to $2.09 in 2020 dollars.

Virginia’s average gas price is $1.69, up a penny from last week, down 3 cents from last month and down 90 cents from this time last year.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Morgan Dean, AAA spokesperson. “Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.”

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to COVID-19 impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast.

Americans can expect gas prices to continue to push more expensive, possibly hitting $2/gallon in the next few weeks. This is mostly due to demand increasing as states re-open. This week will also bring the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise.

Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels. Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and crude oil prices.


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