Average U.S. pump prices are expected to average $3.11 per gallon of regular gas on July Fourth, a year-over-year increase of 43% from last year’s multi-year low of $2.18. 2020, of course, was the year of COVID-19 and most Americans remained in their homes rather than go on the road, to hotels, or to campgrounds.
As the U.S. economy has reopened, demand for everything has been rising, and gasoline to fuel delayed trips and vacations is no exception. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, commented: “However, once market forces begin to balance, I expect prices to moderate this fall and over time, oil production will again rise, helping bring gas prices down to earth as soon as this fall, but the road may remain bumpy until the pandemic is behind us.”
A GasBuddy survey in May noted that nearly half of Americans (46%) say high gas prices will affect their summer travel plans. Nearly three-quarters of Americans listed cost as their top travel consideration, but an equal percentage of travelers planning to hit the road this summer are planning to take at least two trips.
Oil production is expected to rise somewhat, and that will help keep a lid on prices. But GasBuddy expects prices to remain above $3 a gallon through Labor Day, the traditional, if unofficial, end of the summer driving season.