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Summer gas price spike 2024

US gas prices could hit a national average of $3.63 this summer!

Memorial Day 2024 is upon us, 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 an average of $0.50 since the start of the year, from $3.08 per gallon on January 4, 2024, to $3.58 per gallon on May 16, 2024.

And we shouldn’t expect prices to recede until the end of the summer if 2024 holds true with historical prices. Over the last six years, gas prices have jumped in the summer anywhere from 3% to 15% higher than in non-summer months.

How much will gas cost in Summer 2024?

So far in 2024, the national average price for gas is $3.36, but we can expect that figure to jump to around $3.63 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 40% higher than pre-pandemic, with prices jumping from $63 in 2019 to $88.06 in 2023.

We expect that number to come down in 2024 to $85.15, which is still 35% higher than before Covid.

California was by far the most expensive place for a summer road trip in 2023, at $120.34 for the round trip, followed by Washington ($117.52) and Hawaii ($111.58).

Mississippi was the cheapest place to fill up for that summer drive ($74.78), closely followed by Louisiana ($77.23) and Alabama ($77.61).

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 38%).

Washington saw the biggest shift in the cost of a summer road trip, with prices jumping 52% from a pre-pandemic cost of $77.14 to $117.52 in the summer of 2023.

Month-over-month gas prices: 2018-2024

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 $4.28 during the summer. Close behind is Hawaii at $4.15 and Washington State at $3.89.

Gas has historically been cheapest in Mississippi, with gas costing $2.73 over the summer months. Next up is Louisiana ($2.77) and Alabama ($2.78).

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

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

Image: Gene Gallin on Unsplash

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Senior editorial manager

Richard Laycock is Finder’s NYC-based senior content marketing manager & insights editor, spending the last decade data diving, writing and editing articles about all things personal finance. His musings can be found across the web including on NASDAQ, MoneyMag, Yahoo Finance and Travel Weekly. Richard studied Media at Macquarie University, including a semester abroad at The Missouri School of Journalism (MIZZOU). See full bio

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