Labor Day drivers will find relief at the pump

Staff Reports
Posted 8/27/19

Travelers hitting the road for the long Labor Day weekend – usually the last chance for summer travel, even if temperatures will remain at oven-like levels for weeks to come – will find some relief at the pump this year.

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Labor Day drivers will find relief at the pump

Posted

Travelers hitting the road for the long Labor Day weekend – usually the last chance for summer travel, even if temperatures will remain at oven-like levels for weeks to come – will find some relief at the pump this year.

According to studies by analysts at AAA and Gasbuddy.com, gas prices at the pump in Texas are still dramatically lower than a year before, with an average price around $2.32 per gallon, 28.1 cents lower than the same timeframe in 2018.

That’s also well below the national average of $2.58 per gallon, though that figure is also lower than a year ago. Prices around the country have been dropping since mid-summer, according to the studies.

"For now six straight weeks we've seen the national average price of gasoline decline, and after last week's escalation in the trade battle between the U.S. and China, it's possible that the streak continues longer than previously anticipated as oil markets react to the news, sending oil lower," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

According to AAA, some states may see gas prices increase by a few pennies ahead of the holiday weekend, which isn’t atypical, but those jumps will be short-term.

Around Madison County, gas prices were higher than the state average, ranging from $2.43 a gallon to $2.59 in reported prices to GasBuddy. In the Brazos Valley, prices were similarly above average, though ranging from a low of $2.17 per gallon at an H-E-B in Bryan to $2.59 at a Shell in College Station. In Huntsville, prices range from $2.29 to $2.49 a gallon.

“For Americans who bookend summer with road trips, they will find gas prices this coming weekend that are cheaper than this past Memorial Day and last year’s Labor Day holiday,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “At the start of the week, two-thirds of all states have gas price averages that are nearly a quarter cheaper than last year.”

According to GasBuddy, prices at the pump are tracking falling crude oil prices. Oil prices saw a weekly drop after China announced it was increasing tariffs on U.S. goods, prompting President Donald Trump to up the ante nearly immediately after announcing an increase on Chinese goods, prompting a drop in oil prices, according to the gas monitoring website.

Late Sunday as the trade war escalated, oil fell to $53 per barrel before staging a rally Monday morning after Trump signaled a more conciliatory tone that China wanted to talk and he wanted to make a deal. Oil rebounded to $55.18, still off the $55.85 per barrel price from last week Monday morning. Should Trump’s statement Monday morning change later in the week, oil will likely sell-off again, it said.

DeHaan said that could be good news for motorists.

“Gas prices will likely decline even more substantially starting in mid-September as most of the nation begins the transition back to cheaper winter gasoline starting September 16. Fall will bring plenty of falling gas prices, so long as there remains turmoil between the U.S. and China.”

The Energy Information Agency reports that regional gasoline stocks drew by a little more than 1 million barrels. However, overall levels sit at a very healthy 83.2 million barrels and therefore gas prices are poised to continue to push cheaper.

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