Will summer gas prices go up or down?

Persistently low gas prices prompt more summer road trips, GasBuddy study finds.

(GasBuddy) – For the first time in recorded history, current national average gasoline price nearly the same as start of the year and Memorial Day 2016.

More Americans are planning to hit the road this summer compared to 2016, according to the annual Summer Travel Study conducted by GasBuddy, the only smartphone app connecting more than 65 million drivers with their Perfect Pit Stop. More than 82 percent said they will take a road trip this summer, a 7-percent increase from last year and a 9-percent increase compared to 2015, with a majority (70 percent) planning to take at least two trips.

A key finding behind the surge in travel is a feat never before seen: the national average gasoline price today is nearly the same (up 1.5 cents) as it was to start the year ($2.34), compared to the average increase of 47 cents , and also nearly the same as Memorial Day last year ($2.33). The stability at the pump is likely sparking optimism for the upcoming summer driving season as motorists have not been hit hard by skyrocketing gas prices during the spring.

For motorists hitting the road, gas prices this Memorial Day will be their second cheapest in the last decade at $2.39 per gallon, substantially lower than the ten-year average of $3.15 per gallon. Since Memorial Day 2016, the average price for a gallon of gas has fluctuated just 31 cents, dropping to the low of $2.12 (Aug 4, 2016) and rising to the high of $2.43 (April 22, 2017).

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“It has been a remarkably quiet spring at the pump, perhaps even record-setting quiet as gasoline prices have seen minimal fluctuation during the normally explosive spring time. As a result, we are finding that more people than ever will be taking advantage by hitting the road,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy. “The incredible part is that nationwide, we’ll be spending $2.2 billion less over the long weekend versus the highest-priced Memorial Day weekend in 2011 at $3.78 per gallon.”

Despite stable gas prices, the price differentiation between stations is some of the widest in recent history. According to a recent GasBuddy study, there is a higher chance for consumers to overpay at the pump when gas prices are less expensive. SUV drivers can save on average $11 per fill-up by stopping at the favorable end of the price spread .

Highlights from GasBuddy’s 2017 Summer Travel Survey

  • 56 percent will journey on average at least 500 miles round trip, up 9 percent from last year
  • 75 percent plan to take road trips during non-holiday weekends, up 22 percent from last year
  • Of the three big summer holiday weekends, most people plan to travel on Memorial Day (22 percent), followed by Independence Day (20 percent) and Labor Day (16 percent)
  • 64 percent said gas prices do not impact their decision to make road trips; while 17 percent are taking advantage because they believe prices are low
(GasBuddy)