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Gas Prices Holding Steady Despite Summer Driving Season

The average price of a gallon of gas today is lower than a year ago, lower than a month ago, and about the same as a week ago. That’s remarkable as summer driving season is underway, which usually means soaring prices at the pump.

“Gasoline demand has trailed 2023 for most of this year, and analysts believe economic uncertainty may suppress demand this summer,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “So, is the typical robust summer driving season a thing of the past? Or is gas demand just taking longer to pick up steam? We may not know until autumn.”

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The nationwide average sits at $3.46 this morning, with a low of $2.93 in Mississippi and a high of $4.81 in California.

Demand was catching up to last year’s levels – Americans burned about 9.39 million barrels of gasoline the week ending June 14 (the most recent week for which the federal Energy Information Administration has data). That’s nearly identical to last year’s figure.

Analysts Disagree On What’s Coming

The heat wave oppressing the East Coast may keep many Americans indoors this weekend, depressing demand. But analysts disagree on what the next few weeks will bring.

RSM chief economist Joe Brusuelas recently wrote, “Wholesale gasoline prices suggest that the price at the pump will fall another 10% from the current $3.44 per gallon. This will surely bolster U.S. household balance sheets heading into the summer spending season.”

But Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, says “we could see a gentle incline, not decline” of prices headed into the July 4 holiday.

Related: Spying on Your Driving: Weather Apps, Gas Price Apps, More

Americans drive more for holiday celebrations. De Haan points out in a recent blog post that nationwide inventories of crude oil and refined gasoline have traditionally shrunk ahead of the long weekend.

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