Gas Price Average Up 6 Cents; Memorial Day Pump Prices Cheapest Since 2003

The statewide gas price average in Texas is $1.60 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is six cents more than on this day last week and 97 cents less per gallon compared to this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland are paying the most on average at $1.76 while drivers in Tyler are paying the least at $1.48 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $1.93, which is six cents more compared to this day last week and 91 cents less than the price per gallon at this same time last year.

As the Memorial Day Holiday weekend approaches, gas prices are on the rise, however, historical AAA gas price data shows drivers are filling up with the cheapest gas for this holiday weekend in almost two decades. The statewide average on Memorial Day in 2003 was $1.39 for a gallon of regular unleaded. This price drop to multi-year lows is due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on gasoline and crude oil demand as many continue to stay home. Because of this, 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.

“Even with a holiday weekend just ahead, COVID-19 continues to create demand destruction around the state and country,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Drivers can expect pump prices to push slightly higher in the days ahead due to rising gasoline demand as some states are lifting stay-at-home restrictions and crude oil prices increase.”

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline will come to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels. Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and crude oil prices.

AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch, May 21, 2020

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