Gas Prices High Heading Into July 4 Holiday

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American drivers will pay the highest average gas prices this Independence Day since 2008 due to Iraq violence, reported AAA. Despite this fact, 34.8 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more by car during the upcoming holiday weekend.

"Most drivers are paying 15 [cents to] 20 cents more per gallon than expected heading into the busy Independence Day weekend due to market fear about Iraq," said AAA spokesman Avery Ash. "It is frustrating that events overseas will make it more expensive to celebrate Fourth of July here at home."

The nationwide average for a gallon of regular gas stood at $3.68 on Monday, considerably more expensive than in recent years. The national per-gallon average on July 4 was $3.48 in 2013, $3.34 in 2012, $3.57 in 2011, $2.74 in 2010, $2.62 in 2009 and $4.10 in 2008.

AAA does not believe the higher gas prices will prohibit drivers from traveling during the July 4 weekend. However, it does believe that some consumers could cut back on dining, shopping or other trip activities.

Overall in June, the nationwide average price of a regular gallon of gas reached $3.67, the most expensive for the month of June since 2011. It was also the most expensive month overall since March 2013.

Consumers will not likely see relief throughout the month of July, either, AAA noted. High crude oil costs and rising summertime demand should keep the national average between $3.60 and $3.70 per gallon, compared to $3.58 in July 2013, AAA predicted. Prices could rise even higher based upon what events transpire in Iraq or due to a hurricane, the organization cautioned.

AAA did share one potential piece of good news for consumers. If Iraqi violence calms down in the future, gas prices could stabilize or perhaps even fall a few cents per gallon as a result.