Gas prices drop just in time for Memorial Day travel

Gas prices drop just in time for Memorial Day travel

Whether by planes or trains or automobiles, Americans will be traveling at record volumes this weekend.

AAA projects that nearly 43 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend—with a record-breaking number taking road trips. The vast majority of travelers, some 37.6 million, will hit the road, the most on record for the holiday and 3.5 percent more than last year.

And drivers will pay less for gas this year than last, AAA Western and Central New York said. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in New York State is $2.96—last year it was $3.08. The national average is $2.84, according to AAA.

Gas prices across the state vary, but not by much:
• Batavia – $2.85
• Buffalo – $2.89
• Ithaca – $2.87
• Rochester – $2.89
• Rome – $2.89
• Syracuse – $2.86
• Watertown – $2.96 this week reported that 75 percent of Americans will take a road trip this summer, a 16 percent increase from last year, although 38 percent cited high gas prices for impacting their summer travel decisions.

The national average for gas prices had surged 67 cents from the beginning of the year until May 4, when it peaked at $2.89. GasBuddy predicts the national average for Memorial Day weekend will be $2.83 per gallon, 14 cents cheaper than a year ago.

“For many Americans, this spring has pinched pocketbooks at a dizzying rate, but that still won’t hold back many from hitting the road for the 90 days or so of prime summer weather,” GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan said in a statement. “While the rise in prices has been steep this spring, perhaps the most important factor is that in many places, gas prices are still well below their all-time highs and perhaps even more importantly, over 50 percent of the nation’s gas stations are selling at $2.99 per gallon or less, and that’s a key ingredient in the recipe for many Americans to hit the road again this summer.”

GasBuddy on May 20 reported Rochester’s average gas price as $2.88, compared with $3.02 a year ago. On May 20, 2011, the average price at the pump locally was $4.01 per gallon.

In a separate statement, DeHaan noted that with a trade deal with China unlikely, we may continue to see weakness in oil and gas prices.

“Of course, the trade tensions are not the only issue we’re monitoring for now, but we continue to believe that additional slow relief will trickle to pumps in the next week as more refiners get back into the game and boost production,” he said. “I expect the bulk of states to see lower gas prices continue just in time for Memorial Day while some, inevitably, will see increases.”

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