How summer driving affects gas prices
Good news about gas prices: a regular gallon of gas now costs upwards of $4 in some states going into the so-called summer driving season, but they might actually dip lower in the near future, according to one analyst.
The current average price on a regular gallon of gas in the United States is $3.77, with prices close to $4 a gallon in Washington D.C., Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York and, not surprisingly, Alaska and Hawaii, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.Cool new gas-saving cars
And while Memorial Day is commonly considered the kickoff of summer driving season, gas prices, driven by demand, are expected to fall before they go up any further, says energy analyst Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.
And Kloza says that, while demand for fuel rises over Memorial Day weekend, a real rise in summer driving occurs in July and August and not in June.
And even so, gas prices aren't likely to rise above $4 a gallon for the next three months or so, the analyst suggests. That is, unless summer hurricanes hamper oil refining and deliveries.
In that case, gas prices would rise as supply struggles to meet demand, a major factor in retail gas prices in general.Cheaper, cleaner alternatives to gas
Among the contributors to gas prices in general, the cost of crude makes up about 69 percent of the cost of a gallon of regular gas at the pump, refining costs are about 16 percent, distribution makes up 5 percent and taxes are about 10 percent of what Americans pay to fill up, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data from April of this year.
This summer so far, regular gas prices are up by $1.07 from last summer. Southern states actually pay more for gas than wealthier states, with Louisiana, South Carolina, and Arkansas households spending well above 10 percent of their incomes on gas, according to OPIS Energy Group.Need help deciding where to go? Try out our merchant recommender tool for New York and San Francisco