Citing the continuing violence in Iraq, AAA on Monday said that U.S. drivers will pay more for gas this Fourth of July weekend than they have since 2008. Gasoline prices are 15 to 20 cents a gallon higher due to “market fear about Iraq,” according to AAA.
The current national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.68, compared with $3.48 a year ago. In 2008 the national average price was $4.10 a gallon, and that fell to $2.62 in 2009, at the height of the U.S. recession.
AAA predicts that nearly 35 million Americans will take a road trip of 50 miles or more on the Independence Day weekend.
For the month of June, the national average price per gallon of gasoline was $3.67, and AAA expects the average to fall to between $3.60 and $3.70 per gallon in July. In July 2013, the national average was $3.58 a gallon.
The five states with the highest average gasoline prices today are Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($4.22), California ($4.13), Washington ($4.00) and Oregon ($3.98).
The five states with the lowest per gallon average prices are South Carolina ($3.39), Alabama ($3.42), Mississippi ($3.45), Tennessee ($3.46) and Arkansas ($3.48).
AAA Travel also noted that Americans are more willing to add to credit card debt this year as rising home values and falling unemployment make them “more comfortable” in taking on new debt.