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Summer gas price spike

Gas prices could hit an average of $3.69 this summer!

Memorial Day 2023 has come and gone, which means two things:

  1. It’s the unofficial start of summer.
  2. Gas prices will increase.

Gas prices are already on the rise, with prices jumping week-on-week in 42 out of the 51 states, from $3.54 per gallon on May 18, 2023, to $3.59 per gallon on May 25, 2023.

And we shouldn’t expect prices to recede until the end of the summer if 2023 holds true with historical prices. Over the last five years, summer gas prices are, on average, 6% higher than in the five and a bit months preceding the official start of summer — normally June 20 or 21.

How much will gas cost in summer 2023?

With 2023 seeing an average national price for gas of $3.48 so far this year, we can expect gas prices to reach around an average of $3.69 over the summer months.

Cost of a summer road trip

But how much will gas cost for a family road trip? The average long-distance summer road trip is 284 miles one-way, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and assuming you want to get back, we’re looking at double that distance for a round trip. The average car gets 24.2 miles to the gallon and will go through 23.5 gallons over a summer road trip.

Last year, the cost of a summer road trip was 58% higher than pre-pandemic, with prices jumping from $63 in 2019 to $99.77 in 2022.

We expect that number to come down in 2023 to $86.62, which is still 37% higher than before Covid.

California was by far the most expensive place for a summer road trip in 2022, at $133.17 for the round trip, followed by Hawaii ($127.47) and Nevada ($120.25).

Mississippi was the cheapest place to fill up for that summer drive ($87.23), closely followed by Georgia ($87.37) and Texas ($87.50).

While California may have been the most expensive place to drive over the summer since gas prices are typically so high, the spike the jump between pre- and post-pandemic summer prices was less pronounced (prices only jumped 53%).

Idaho saw the biggest shift in the cost of a summer road trip, with prices jumping 67% from a pre-pandemic cost of $67.97 to $113.48 in the summer of 2022. Maine and Virginia saw similar jumps, with prices moving 66% in both states between 2019 and 2022.

Month-over-month gas prices: 2018-2023

Summertime has traditionally seen gas prices spike, with the lone exception in the last five years being 2020, when the pandemic drove gas prices to historic lows.

While 2020 saw historic lows, 2022 saw historic highs for gas prices. Even before the start of summer, gas prices were north of $4, hitting a peak of $4.99 per gallon the week of June 16, 2022.

Most expensive state to buy gas over summer

But where is gas most expensive during the summer? Over the last five years, gas in California has cost an average of $4.11 during the summer. Close behind is Hawaii at $4.03 and Washington State ($3.67).

Whereas gas has historically been cheapest in Mississippi, with gas costing $2.64 over the summer months. Next up is Louisiana ($2.67) and Alabama ($2.67).

Over the last five years, gas prices have risen the most in Colorado and Idaho, with prices jumping an average of 13% from their pre-summer averages. This is followed by Utah (12%), Montana (11%) and Wyoming (11%).

At the other end of the spectrum, gas prices tend to rise only by 3% during the summer in Alabama, Arizona and Louisiana and just 4% in a range of states, including Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

While gas prices are set to rise over the summer, consumer concerns over future gas prices are dwindling. Concern over gas prices has been dropping over the last year, going from a combined concern of 88% in October 2022 to 85% in April 2023, according to Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index.

Extreme concern has also dropped from 30% in October 2022 to 22% in April 2023.

Image: Gene Gallin on Unsplash

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