“The Southeast will continue to experience tight supply this week as terminals and gas stations are refueled,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Over the weekend, gas prices started to stabilize, but are expected to fluctuate in the lead up to Memorial Day weekend.”
AAA forecasts 34 million Americans to take a road trip 50 miles or more from home from May 27 to May 31 to celebrate the unofficial kickoff to summer. That is a 52% increase compared to last summer, but nearly 9% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Regardless, motorists will be met with the most expensive gas prices since 2014.
“This is going to be an expensive summer for motorists. However, we do not expect it to deter travelers from hitting the road. AAA finds that despite the higher pump prices, Americans still take their road trips but just may not travel as far as originally planned, or go to their planned destination and spend a little less,” added McGee.
Crude oil prices and gasoline demand will be two large factors in determining how expensive gas prices will go.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Georgia (+21 cents), North Carolina (+21 cents), South Carolina (+21 cents), Virginia (+18 cents), Tennessee (+18 cents), Alabama (+17 cents), Maryland (+16 cents), Mississippi (+12 cents), West Virginia (+10 cents) and Texas (+10 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.72), Louisiana ($2.72), Texas ($2.76), Missouri ($2.76), Arkansas ($2.76), Oklahoma ($2.78), North Dakota ($2.83), Minnesota ($2.83), Kansas ($2.84) and Alabama ($2.85).
Oil Market Dynamics
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI increased by $1.55 to settle at $65.37. Market optimism that crude demand will recover, despite an uptick in coronavirus infection rates in some countries, helped to lift prices last week. Prices could continue to climb this week if the market remains optimistic as vaccines continue to roll out. Additionally, prices increased after the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly report revealed that total domestic crude oil inventory decreased by 400,000 bbl to 484.7 million bbl. If EIA’s next report shows another decrease in total domestic crude supply, crude prices could increase further.
Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access.