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Summer gas prices may remain close to $3 mark

It may be a long, cruel summer at the gas pumps moving toward the dog days of summer.

The current national average for a price of regular gasoline has risen to $3.17 per gallon. That’ an increase of 13-cents per gallon since the Memorial Day weekend and 98-cents more than one year ago to date.

In Alabama, the state average is $2.86, 31-cents lower than the national average. That amounts to a 6-cent increase in the state since Memorial Day, but remains a 94-cent increase over last year.

AAA Spokesperson Clay Ingram said the current prices are a little higher than in 2019, so they’re not too far off normal. But, he said comparing the 2020 prices and the 2021 prices is like comparing apples to oranges because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said last year, people weren’t traveling, and this year the amount of travel has returned to normal levels. He said that has helped gas prices to creep up, but there are other factors involved in the price of gas this summer.

“Crude oil prices are rising,” Ingram said. “When that happens, that price increase is always passed on at the pump. There was also expected to be a shortage of tanker truck drivers. So, there was the possibility that some gas stations might run out of gas for a couple of days. So, there was a lot of speculation about gas prices and that caused a rise in prices as well.

“But, we’re past the worst part of it now. There’s a chance it might creep up a little more. I don’t think we’ll see it get much higher, but, that’s certainly a possibility.”

In the Southeast, Mississippi has the lowest price for average grade gasoline at $2.78 per gallon. Georgia is nearing the $3 mark at a $2.97 average and Florida follows close behind at $2.90 per gallon.

The highest prices remain in the west, particularly along the Pacific Coast. California has the highest prices in the nation at $4.32 per gallon. Oregon is at $3.69 and Washington state is at $3.84.

The last time the national average was above $3 per gallon was July 2014, according to AAA.