NATIONAL REPORT — For the first time in nearly 20 years, the national gas price average leading into the Memorial Day holiday is less than $2 a gallon.
At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87. In 2003, motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill up. Even though gas prices this year won't be as cheap as then, today's national average is $1 cheaper than one year ago.
"Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year's unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel," said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. "Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume."
For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to COVID-19 impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast, as Convenience Store News previously reported.
Americans can expect gas prices to continue to push more expensive, possibly hitting $2 per gallon in the next few weeks mostly due to demand increasing as states re-open. On the week, nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on average by 4 cents.
The nation's top 10 largest weekly increases are Idaho (17 cents), Pennsylvania (8 cents), Wisconsin (7 cents), Iowa (7 cents), Colorado (7 cents), Kansas (7 cents), Maryland (6 cents), Utah (6 cents), Nebraska (5 cents) and Minnesota (5 cents).
The nation's top 10 least expensive markets are Mississippi ($1.51), Arkansas ($1.52), Oklahoma ($1.52), Missouri ($1.54), Texas ($1.56), Alabama ($1.57), Kansas ($1.57), South Carolina ($1.60), Louisiana ($1.60) and Tennessee ($1.62).
Here's now the country is faring by region:
Great Lakes & Central States
The nation's largest weekly gas price increases can be found for a second week in the Great Lakes and Central States region. Five states from the region land on the top 10 list for largest jumps, although this week's increases are less than 10 cents: Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Minnesota.
With increases over the last two weeks, Illinois ($2.13) is the only state in the region whose average has jumped back to more than $2 per gallon. At $1.86, Indiana carries the second most expensive average in the region, while Missouri ($1.54) touts the cheapest.
South & Southeast
Gas prices continue to push more expensive for the majority of South and Southeast states as most of the region pushes towards re-opening. South and Southeast state pump price averages remain below $2 per gallon by 25 cents to 50 cents.
With an increase of 6 cents, Arkansas ($1.52) and Tennessee ($1.62) saw the largest jumps on the week, while Florida carries the most expensive average at $1.77.
Motorists continue to enjoy vastly cheaper prices — 90 cents to more than $1 cheaper — compared to last year. Even with prices expected to push more expensive this month, filling up will continue to be a cost savings compared to May 2019, AAA reported.
Mid-Atlantic & Northeast
On the week, Pennsylvania saw the largest increase (8 cents) among Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, and saw the second biggest jump of all states in the country. Otherwise, states in the region saw mostly increases of a few cents, but no more than 5 cents.
State averages range between $2.17 in Washington, D.C. to $1.71 in North Carolina. In addition to Washington, D.C., New York ($2.15) and Pennsylvania ($2.14) carry the most expensive averages in the region and land among the top 10 highest in the country.
Motorists in the Rockies are seeing significant savings — more than a $1 per gallon — at the pump year-over-year. Three states land on the top 10 list for the largest yearly difference in the country, including Idaho (down $1.22), Utah (down $1.17) and Montana (down $1.12). Wyoming has a difference of 97 cents less year-over-year.
The past week brought fluctuation through the region with Idaho (up 17 cents), Colorado (up 7 cents) and Utah (up 6 cents) seeing increases as the pump. Wyoming ($1.82) and Montana ($1.74) mostly held steady. At the jump, Utah’s average increased to $2.02, making it the only state in the Rockies region with an average more than $1.99 per gallon.
Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the most expensive in the country, with more increases expected as states in the region ease restrictions this week. When compared to a week ago, California (4 cents) and Nevada (4 cents) saw the largest increases in the region, while Arizona (1 cent) saw the only decline.
The most expensive markets in this region are Hawaii ($3.17), California ($2.80), Washington ($2.45), Oregon ($2.38), Nevada ($2.35), Arizona ($2.07) and Alaska ($2.05).