Motorists Won't Find Holiday Savings at the Pump This Year

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Motorists Won't Find Holiday Savings at the Pump This Year

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WASHINGTON, D.C. Gas prices are expected to decline as the end of 2017 nears, but not enough to save consumers at the pump during this holiday season, according to AAA. 

The national gas price average is $2.51, 28 cents more than the national average this time last year, AAA reports. Even if prices begin to decline in the coming weeks, motorists will still be paying more at the pump during December than they have since 2014.

“Despite a forecasted 5- to 20-cent decrease in coming weeks, motorists will see higher-than-expected December gas prices especially compared to year-end prices from 2015 and 2016,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

A major impact on the higher-than-average holiday season gas prices are hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which struck the United States earlier this year. Steady consumer demand and continued growth in gasoline exports are also factors.

The West Coast region of the U.S. currently has the most expensive gasoline markets. The year-to-date averages in this region are: Hawaii ($3.09), California ($3), Alaska ($2.88), Washington ($2.86), Oregon ($2.71), Nevada ($2.66) and Arizona (2.28).

However, AAA predicts that the West Coast will see the largest gas price decreases in December.

Motorists in the Great Lakes and Central states have experienced some volatility in gas prices over the year with year-to-date averages as follows: Michigan ($2.44), Illinois ($2.43), South Dakota (2.38), Wisconsin ($2.35), Nebraska ($2.35), Missouri ($2.17), Kansas ($2.23), Ohio ($2.29), Kentucky ($2.29) and Minnesota ($2.32).

Unfortunately, motorists in this region could see another spike in prices with the scheduled shutdown of the Keystone pipeline, according to AAA. 

November has been a tough month for those in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, with gasoline inventories at their lowest points for this time of year since 2014. The year-to-date averages in this region have a 44-cent range — from $2.61 in Pennsylvania to $2.17 in Tennessee. Already, the region is experiencing a decline in gas prices that’s expected to continue with anticipated imports.

Due to the devastating hurricanes earlier this year, the South and Southeast region has seen the greatest impact on gas prices. Florida, where Hurricane Irma hit, has the highest average year-to-date gas price at $2.37. The rest of the state averages are: New Mexico ($2.30), Georgia ($2.29), Texas ($2.19), Louisiana ($2.18), South Carolina ($2.12), Alabama ($2.14), Mississippi ($2.15), Oklahoma ($2.15) and Arkansas ($2.15).

Gas prices have remained fairly predictable in the Rockies, where the prices spiked during the summer and then went on the decline with winter approaching. Year-to-date averages are: Idaho ($2.56), Utah ($2.46), Montana ($2.42), Wyoming ($2.35) and Colorado ($2.34).

In the early months of 2018, motorists across the country should see gas prices continuing to trend downward. By February, AAA expects the national gas price average to be in the $2.25 to $2.35 range.

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