Record number of Memorial Day travelers face rising gas prices

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, gas prices are increasing for the first time in weeks. The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states have seen gas prices fluctuate, with increases up to four cents in some areas.

gas pricesToday’s national average is $2.37 per gallon – two cents more than a week ago, four cents less than a month ago, but six cents more than a year ago. Gas price increases are likely the result of rising demand and crude oil prices.

“The unofficial start of summer is here with the Memorial Day holiday weekend and motorists are set to pay the highest prices for the holiday since 2015,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, increased prices at the pump will not deter travelers and we will have the highest number of travelers for the Memorial Day holiday in 12 years.”

At the close of NYMEX trading Thursday, WTI crude oil closed at $48.90 per barrel, setting a new low for the day and blowing through the $50 per barrel mark for the first time this week.  The nearly five percent single-day drop Thursday came despite OPEC’s announcement that the group will extend their production cuts to the first quarter of 2018. OPEC, as well as some non-OPEC countries, agreed last November to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day, which was supposed to end after the first half of the year.

While AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the highest Memorial Day gas prices since 2015, the vast majority of holiday travelers (88.1 percent) are still planning to hit the road.  Automobile travel will grow by 2.4 percent this Memorial Day, with 34.6 million Americans planning a holiday road trip. As gasoline demand increases with the summer driving season, motorists will likely begin to feel the pinch at the pump.


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