Pump prices are climbing with summer travel in full swing with little relief in sight.
Through August, motorists could see the national average rise another 10 to 20 cents, according to AAA, putting the national average over $3.25 per gallon this summer.
“Robust gasoline demand and more expensive crude oil prices are pushing gas prices higher,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson.
The predictions come after U.S. gasoline demand set a new pandemic-era high over the Fourth of July, with national demand rising by 4.7%, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up over 3 cents since last week, and as of Tuesday, the national average stands at $3.12 per gallon, according to GasBuddy.
“Gasoline demand over the holiday weekend certainly did not disappoint as millions of Americans flooded the roads for the long weekend, guzzling down gasoline at a clip not seen in years,” Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said in a press release. “In the process, we could have set new all-time records for consumption.”
Aside from demand stateside, geopolitical tensions are putting upward pressure on prices for crude oil, the raw material used to make gasoline. The meeting among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was canceled this week after a dispute between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates over the cartel's oil production.
“We had hoped that global crude production increases would bring some relief at the pump this month, but weekend Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) negotiations fell through with no agreement reached,” McGee said. “Crude prices are set to surge to a seven-year high."
Another factor that could affect prices is the June-to-November hurricane season in the Atlantic when the U.S. crude oil market moves when there are interruptions in Gulf Coast production.
For the country’s cheapest fill-up, southern states Mississippi ($2.73), Louisiana ($2.75), and South Carolina ($2.79), lead the way. The country’s most expensive gas can be found on the West Coast: California ($4.29), Hawaii ($3.96), and Washington ($3.79).
“For now, with imbalances in supply and demand continuing, motorists will continue digging deeper to pay for gasoline as prices are likely headed nowhere but up until global supply starts to catch up with the surge in demand,” said De Haan.