Cary, NC – Labor Day weekend is typically filled with driving and traveling. This weekend looks to be no exception, but even with high demand, gasoline prices look to be relative low.
Prices Fall Ahead of Labor Day
This Labor Day weekend, the nationwide average price for gasoline is $2.59 per gallon and a local average of $2.40 per gallon. By comparison, last year at this time in Cary, the average price was $2.676 per gallon.
Currently, gasoline prices are on the decline and if this continues, during Labor Day weekend, they would be at their lowest point in three years.
“At the start of the week, two-thirds of all states have gas price averages that are nearly a quarter cheaper than last year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.
Nationwide, North Carolina has some of the lowest gas prices, though some of the highest in the South aside from Georgia and Florida. Inside the state, Wake County is at the midpoint with an average price of $2.413 per gallon, though neighboring Orange and Durham Counties have significantly higher prices and nearby Franklin and Harnett Counties have much lower prices.
What’s Behind Unusual Prices?
While a decline in gas prices is typically tied to a drop in demand, that is not the case here. Not only is Labor Day weekend historically a high demand time, but the United States is currently experiencing an all-time high in gas demand. Current demand is 9.93 million barrels, the highest ever recorded since the Energy Information Administration started recording this data in 1991.
Gasoline prices were already dropping before this demand spike started up, which Casselano said could have slowed the drop.
“Demand recorded at a surprising all-time high, but it is expected to drop in the coming weeks as summer comes to an unofficial end,” Casselano said.
One clear cause of the price drop is a new larger supply of crude oil, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) encouraging their partners to extend crude oil production. Currently, the United States’ reserves sit at 438.9 million barrels, higher than last year. Crude oil prices are also about $10 cheaper per barrel than they were at this time last year.
One factor to look out for is this year’s upcoming hurricane season, which is set to be “above normal.”
Story by Michael Papich. Photos by AAA and Mike Mozart.