Great news if you’re headed out for a road trip this Labor Day weekend. For most drivers, gas prices will be the lowest they’ve been since 2004.
AAA reports that as of Thursday, September 3, the national average price of gas is $2.44 per gallon, which is 99 cents per gallon less than a year ago. With that figure, U.S. consumers should save more than $1 billion on gasoline over the holiday weekend compared to 2014. It means drivers will save about $15-$25 on every trip to the gas station.
“Americans should find good deals on gas prices in most parts of the country heading into the busy Labor Day weekend,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is unbelievable that drivers are ending their summer vacations with the lowest gas prices for this time of year in more than a decade.”
Even better news, AAA researchers believe gas prices could drop under $2 a gallon on average by Christmas.
“Gas prices in many parts of the country could fall below $2 per gallon by Christmas if the cost of crude oil remains low,” continued Ash. “There is good reason to believe that cheaper oil costs, a seasonal decline in driving and the switchover to less costly winter-blend gasoline will continue to push down prices through the end of the year.”
Many parts of the country can switch over to less expensive, winter-blend gasoline on September 16. The EPA requires that parts of the country use summer-blend gasoline during hot-weather months to improve air quality, but this fuel is unnecessary once temperatures begin to cool. Occasionally, gas prices can increase temporarily in the days leading up the switchover deadline as supplies of remaining summer-blend gasoline tighten.
Gas prices are meanwhile expected to remain relatively high on the West Coast, in part because ExxonMobil’s refinery in Torrance, Calif. is still not operating at normal levels. The refinery experienced an explosion in the spring that sent gas prices in parts of California above $4 per gallon. Gas prices have since declined as supplies enter the market form other areas, yet gas prices in California and neighboring states remain near or above $3 per gallon. The refinery reportedly will ramp up in production in October as it completes repairs.
AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com.