Rising gas prices have become the theme for the 2021 summer travel season. According to GasBuddy, many drivers will see prices remain above the $3 per gallon mark in time for the upcoming holiday weekend. Even with some relief from a recent small drop in prices, the national average price of gas on July 4 is still expected to be $3.11 per gallon, some 43 percent, or 93 cents more than last year’s Covid-induced price of $2.18.
According to GasBuddy’s annual summer travel survey in May, 46 percent of Americans’ plans this summer were affected by high gas prices, which had been rising steadily until recently. Prior to the upcoming holiday weekend, Americans saw gas prices spike in early March, and again in mid-May due to increasing demand and the Colonial Pipeline shutdown.
“With the economic recovery from Covid continuing, gasoline demand has been very strong. Amidst lower oil production as oil companies struggle to raise output, gas prices have been higher this summer than in the past few years,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “However, once market forces begin to balance, I expect prices to moderate this fall and over time, oil production will again rise, helping bring gas prices down to earth as soon as this fall, but the road may remain bumpy until the pandemic is behind us.”
According to GasBuddy’s annual summer travel survey, 74 percent of those planning to take a road trip will be taking at least two, further emphasizing the increased demand for gasoline.
With Covid recovery continuing this summer, oil prices are likely to remain elevated, keeping gas prices above $3 per gallon for most of the summer. Labor Day is poised to feature $3+ prices as well, and should any hurricane disrupt supply chains, prices may rise even further.