|The United States should be seeing its lowest summer gas prices since 2009, according to a report from the AAA auto club released June 1.
“This could be the year of the summer road trip with lower gas prices motivating millions of people to travel,” Avery Ash, AAA spokesman, said in a news release. “Many drivers are likely to save hundreds of dollars this summer as gas prices remain more affordable than in recent years.”
The national average price of gasoline on June 1 was $2.75 per gallon. That’s actually the highest average yet for the year; moreover, the average has gone up by 71 cents since January, which is the most dramatic season increase seen since 2012.
But abundant stocks of both gasoline and crude oil have kept overall prices low.
All the states where gas is priced higher than $3 per gallon are in the western regions of the U.S., where regional refinery problems have driven costs up. Those states include California, with an average of $3.70 per gallon; Hawaii, $3.30; Nevada, $3.30; Alaska, $3.30; Washington, $3.06; Oregon, $3.03; and Utah, $3.03.
Prices may drop again in June as refineries finish up seasonal maintenance and ramp up production for summer, the busiest driving season. In the past five years, gasoline prices have gone down by an average of 12 cents per gallon in June due to this increased summer production.
Fighting in the Middle East or strong hurricanes in the Atlantic could increase prices, but most experts are optimistic at this point.
Lower prices at the pump aren’t the only reason car owners can get excited about driving this summer, either. Another AAA study released in early May found that overall car ownership costs are down about 2% from last year, largely due to lower fuel costs and lower interest on car loans.
Auto maintenance costs and tire prices both went up slightly, according to the analysis, but those comprise a much smaller percentage of overall ownership costs.