Nearly 49 million Americans will travel for July 4th holiday, paying less for gas prices than last year

01 July 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (July 1, 2019)  — Tennessee’s state average gas price is $2.42 per gallon for regular unleaded, which is seven cents more than last week’s average, but still eight cents less than one month ago and 17 cents less than one year ago. Tennessee’s average gas price has been falling since the end of April for a discount of 27 cents over the period.  

Today’s national average is $2.72, which is six cents more than last week, with 25 states seeing an increase of a nickel or more on the week. But, the average is a dime less than a month ago and 13 cents less than a year ago.

“After weeks of steady pump price declines, gas prices are starting to increase across the country,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “A trio of factors re working to push pump prices higher including: increased demand ahead of Independence Day travel, fluctuations in crude oil price and refinery interruptions on the East Coast.”   

Factors driving up gas prices:

 

  • Crude oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was priced as low as $51.13 in mid-June, but has since jumped more than $8 to land as high as $59.43. Crude accounts for as much as 60% of the retail gasoline price.

  • Supply: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports total U.S. stocks at 232 million bbl for the week ending June 21, which is the lowest June stock level seen since 2015.

  • Demand:  Demand remains robust for peak summer driving season at a four-week average of 9.6 million b/d. EIA reports gasoline stocks drew down for a second week in its latest report. This trend isn’t likely to stop this week, especially with 41.4 million Americans expected to hit the road for the Independence Day holiday.
  • Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES): Last week, PES announced that they will permanently close the South Philadelphia refinery this month, which is the oldest and largest refinery on the East Coast. The announcement came following a June fire and explosion at the refinery, which produces 335,000 barrels of crude per day (42 U.S. gallons per barrel). While gasoline stocks from Canada, neighboring refineries, and the Colonial Pipeline will help backfill supply, retailers will likely face increased transportation costs which will drive up prices in the Northeast and surrounding regions.
  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC): OPEC and its partners will meet today and tomorrow in Vienna and are likely to extend the current production reduction agreement of 1.2 million b/d through the end of the year, which could push crude oil prices more expensive.

 

Crude Oil

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI dropped by 96 cents to settle at $58.47. Crude prices moved mostly higher last week following surprising new data from EIA that showed total domestic crude inventories took a surprisingly large draw of 12.8 million bbl last week. At 469.6 million bbl, crude inventories are almost 53 million bbl higher this year over last, but the dramatic decline has the market concerned that the global crude market is tightening.

 

Record Breaking 48.9 Million Americans to Travel this Independence Day:

More Americans than ever recorded by AAA, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with an Independence Day getaway this year. (AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.) Overall travel volume for the holiday is expected to rise 4.1% over last year, with an additional 1.9 million people planning road trips and other vacations to celebrate America’s birthday. For the record-high 41.4 million Americans who will travel by automobile this Independence Day, INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, predicts drivers could face delays as much as four times a normal commute, with Wednesday, July 3 the worst day on the roads.

In addition to lower gas prices compared with last summer, broader economic fundamentals remain strong. Low unemployment, robust consumer spending, and rising disposable incomes are all encouraging more consumers to invest their hard-earned money in travel this summer.

“As Independence Day approaches, more Americans than ever are traveling for the holiday with the vast majority setting out on a road trip,” said Stephanie Milani, Tennessee Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Moreover, a record number of Tennesseans will also travel for the holiday- an increase of 4.7% over last year bringing the expected number of Tennesseans traveling to more than 985,000.”  

View the full release here.

                                                           
                                                           
CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES

                                                                                     Regular Unleaded Gasoline

Monday Sunday Week Ago Month Ago One Year Ago 2018 High Record High
National $2.717 $2.716 $2.662 $2.820 $2.853 $2.97 (5/26/2018) $4.11   (7/17/2008)
Tennessee $2.416 $2.417 $2.350 $2.502 $2.596 $2.73 (5/27/2018) $4.12   (9/15/2008)
Click here to view current gasoline price averages

Gas Price Survey Methodology

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.GasPrices.AAA.com. Every day up to 130,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.6 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.