Gas prices in the area are quickly rising to $5 per gallon, although some have exceeded the mark and some sit not far below it, but AAA Washington predicts some relief on the horizon.
AAA Washington provided an outlook for statewide gas prices looking beyond Labor Day weekend.
AAA Washington stated major factors for the cost of gasoline at the pump are the market price for crude oil, followed by supply and demand.
“That growing gas demand is mitigated by the price of oil declining several dollars per barrel and holding steady below $80,” said Mellani McAleenan, AAA Washington senior manager of public affairs. “Even so, the price per barrel is still higher than it was for much of the year, in part because of Saudi Arabia’s extension of its production cuts of 1 million barrels a day through September.”
McAleenan added that the general expectation for gas prices is they will go down headed into the fall. After Labor Day, the combination of reduced demand and the transition to less-expensive winter blends should lead to lower prices.
Recent weather activity has also had an impact on prices. In the Southwest and California, heavy rains and flooding from Tropical Storm Hilary sent wholesale prices higher, McAleenan added.
“It appears, though, that the refineries in the Los Angeles area came through the storm without major issues, so any impact should be short-term,” McAleenan stated. “At the same time, there are ongoing concerns about potential weather activity that could hurt supply if refineries in the Gulf of Mexico have to reduce output due to storms during this hurricane season or more days of excessive heat like what we saw earlier this year.”
McAleenan provided gas users some hope for what’s to come by stating, “barring any unforeseen issues, we should start seeing prices trend downward soon.”
According to AAA data, travel was up this Labor Day weekend.
“AAA booking data for flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises shows Labor Day travel is up compared to last year. Domestic bookings are up 4%, and international bookings are up 44%,” McAleenan stated.
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