As demand for gasoline rises, prices have moved higher, but remain far lower than last year
While many firework displays have been cancelled, motorists may be drawn to hit the road this Independence Day weekend by the lowest July 4 gas prices since 2004, according to GasBuddy. With concerns of a new wave of COVID-19 cases, oil prices have recently turned south, which could lead the national average to cease rising for now, keeping the holiday weekend under 2017’s level of $2.22 per gallon, thus resulting in the lowest prices in at least 15 years.
“2020 continues to be anything but a normal year, and low gas prices have persisted into summer’s unofficial halfway point, Independence Day. While gasoline demand has continued to rebound, there is anxiety about the recent surge in new coronavirus cases in the U.S., and that could prevent gas prices from seeing a continued rebound. However, we’re currently in the midst of the lowest summer gas prices we’ve seen in some 15 years,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “For now, expect a roller coaster ride at the pump, but conditions to socially distance and hit the road remain ripe for those able to do so. Prices in all 50 states remain well-below year-ago levels, but should the coronavirus situation improve significantly, gas prices will follow. At the end of the day, I expect this summer to have been the cheapest in well over a decade, so pack your bags, masks and hand sanitizer and hit the road.”
According to Pay with GasBuddy, a free payments card that can save motorists up to 25 cents per gallon, gasoline demand has rebounded nearly 53% from lows reached in early April but at present remains some 18% below a year ago. Should COVID-19 cases start to decline again, gas prices and demand are likely to climb into Labor Day. In addition, with hurricane season coming into its prime in August and September, there may be bumps in the road that lead to volatility at the gas pump.
“I’ll reiterate that while forecasting gasoline prices this summer has been the most challenging of any year in GasBuddy’s 20-year history and with the coronavirus situation impossible to predict, I think by Labor Day we could see a national average of $2.25-$2.50 per gallon,” De Haan said.
Historical national average price per gallon on Independence Day:
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