A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Welcome news for travelers heading into Memorial Day weekend as gas prices continue to trend lower

The national average for a gallon of gas drifted lower by just 4 cents compared to last last week, falling to $3.53. While falling prices are always welcome, the lackluster speed at which consumers are seeing pump prices ease can be attributed to a rise in demand that is counteracting the impact of lower oil prices.

“Typically, we see pump prices driven higher with an increase in demand. But in most areas, that hasn’t been the case,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “The price of oil has remained relatively low lately, so motorists should continue to benefit from stable pump prices with the Memorial Day travel weekend just around the corner.”

She said oil prices have remained lower due to fears about the global economy. As long as there are no critical events that cause oil prices to surge and remain high, summer travelers should not have to worry about a repeat of last summer’s record-setting gas prices.

(NKyTribune file)

“That’s welcome news heading into Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to summer travel,” said Weaver Hawkins.

According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand grew substantially from 8.62 to 9.30 million b/d last week. The spike is higher than some market observers expected; the estimate could be revised when EIA releases final demand measurements for May. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased by 3.2 million bbl to 219.7 million bbl. Higher demand and a reduction in stocks have slowed pump price decreases.

The national average of $3.53 is 7 cents less than a month ago and 87 cents less than a year ago.

The average in Kentucky rose a penny overnight to $3.27, now just 5 cents lower than one week ago. Today’s average is 13 cents less than a month ago and 89 cents less than a year ago. Kentucky continues to have the 12th lowest average gas price in the nation based on price per gallon of regular gasoline.

The average gas price in Lexington fell a penny overnight to $3.28. Lexington’s current gas price average is 6 cents lower than it was one week ago and 17 cents lower than a month ago. Today’s price is 97 cents lower than a year ago.

Around the Commonwealth, the highest county-level average gas price can be found in Jefferson County, though lower now at $3.69, a 5-cent drop from Monday. The cheapest county-wide average price of gasoline in the commonwealth is again in Daviess County, still averaging $2.94, among five counties averaging below the $3 mark.

Checking nearby, the average price for a gallon of regular today in Ohio is at $3.55, West Virginia $3.43, Virginia $3.32, Tennessee $3.16, Indiana $3.57, Illinois $3.92 and Missouri $3.21. Many surrounding states have seen sharp increases in gas price since Monday’s report, including Ohio with a 20-cent climb since the start of the week, though now just 13 cents higher than a week ago. Ohio is posting the largest week on week increase in the nation as of today.

The highest gasoline average price in the country is still California at $4.81, down a penny since Monday’s report, while Mississippi has the lowest average gas price, now at $2.99 and the only state below the $3 mark.

These 10 states have seen the largest changes in their averages: Ohio (+13 cents), Indiana (+11 cents), Oklahoma (−10 cents), Florida (−9 cents), Nebraska (−8 cents), Michigan (−8 cents), Colorado (−8 cents), Missouri (−8 cents), North Dakota (−8 cents) and North Carolina (−7 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($2.99), Louisiana ($3.08), Texas ($3.09), Alabama ($3.09), Arkansas ($3.11), South Carolina ($3.15), Oklahoma ($3.16), Tennessee ($3.16), Missouri ($3.21) and Georgia ($3.24).

Kentucky continues at 12th least expensive market, trailing Kansas, which is also averaging $3.24, but fractions of a cent higher than Georgia.

AAA Blue Grass

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