Wednesday September 19th, 2018 9:33PM

Gas prices rise as Independence Day holiday approaches

By Alyson Shields Reporter

Independence Day gas prices are expected to be the most expensive gasoline prices in four years.

AAA predicts the prices at pump will increase as 47 million American travel for the Independence Day holiday. Mark Jenkins with the agency said the 39.7 million driving nationwide will find prices close to 50 to 60 cents higher.

Sunday's average of $2.69 is 61 cents more than this time last year. The national average is $2.85, 62 cents higher than this time last year.

"Gas prices will inch higher before July 4, on renewed concerns of global oil supply shortages," said Jenkins. "Oil prices are back to multi-year highs. A 5-10 cent increase at the pump would not be out of the question this week, but prices will not rocket high enough to ruin travel plans."

However, prices this year will remain well below the average of $3.57 from the holiday in 2014, Jenkins said.

GasBuddy.com reports an average price Sunday at $2.65 a gallon. Including the change locally during the past week, GasBuddy.com said prices yesterday were 60.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and are 13 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

"Going into the July 4 holiday, I can't remember the last time oil markets were so active. Oil has surged over 10% just in time for summer's busiest travel holiday, costing motorists over $1 billion more than last year," said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. "All the ingredients exist for the national average to inch closer to $3 per gallon, just in time for the second half of the summer. Undoubtedly, the second half of the summer will be pricier than the first, thanks to OPEC's production increase falling short of expectations, sanctions to be placed back on Iran by November and falling U.S. oil inventories. And to rub some salt in the wound, hurricane season is still upon us, adding more guess work to where gas prices might spend the second half of the summer. Make no mistake, it won't be pretty, not nearly as 'pretty' as the first half of the summer. Be ready for volatility and likely higher prices at the pump in July and August. "

In Atlanta, AAA reports prices were the highest in the state at $2.74, followed by Hinesville-Fort Stewart at $2.71 and Athens at $2.70. The lowest price in the state was spotted in Warner Robins, $2.54. Other low prices were in Albany and Augusta-Aiken at $2.57. 

Hall County saw an average price of $2.68 on Monday. AAA tracks each county's average price on their fuel price map.

The rising price of crude oil restored upward pressure on prices at the pump. After trading around $65 per barrel two weeks ago, oil rocketed to $74.15 on Friday. That is the highest daily settlement since November 2014. 

Oil prices rose due to the following factors: 

  • Weekly EIA data showed record high exports of U.S. crude
  • EIA also reported a significant drop in U.S. inventories 
  • The U.S. asked allies to stop buying Iranian crude by November 4
  • OPEC and Russia agreed to raise production by a lower amount than what was expected
  • Crude production challenges in Canada
  • Gasoline futures prices rose 11 cents last week on the NYMEX. Wholesale gasoline also rose nearly 10 cents. The higher prices will make it more expensive for retailers to fill their pumps. That added cost is typically passed along to the consumer.
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