AAA reported Tuesday that gas prices heading into the Memorial Day weekend are the highest since 2014 after a 12-cent jump in the average over the past two weeks.
The national average for a gallon of unleaded is $2.93. In 2014, it was $3.65 on Memorial Day weekend. That dropped the next year to $2.74 a gallon and fell to $2.32 a gallon in 2016. It began to inch upward again in 2017, at $2.37 a gallon.
“AAA forecasts nearly 37 million travelers will hit the road for the holiday weekend. Compared to an average of the last three Memorial Day weekends, pump prices are nearly 50 cents more expensive and climbing,” AAA spokeswoman Jenifer Moore said in a statement Tuesday. “Trends are indicating that this summer is likely to bring the national average to at least $3/gallon.”
Consumers are expected to spend, on average, $200 more on gas this summer as compared to last year.
More than 41.5 million drivers are expected to hit the road this weekend, according to AAA, 5 percent more than last year.
The higher prices are due to OPEC production cuts while there is increased demand for oil. Supplies are running more than a million barrels under where they were last year. Crude prices rose above $80 per barrel last week.
OPEC meets next month to discuss current output and whether it will relax the supply curb.
In a Tuesday letter to President Trump, Senate Democrats asked the president to leverage his friendship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to get Saudi Arabia to use swing capacity to increase world oil supplies. They also want Trump to send Energy Secretary Rick Perry to the June OPEC meeting and to initiate World Trade Organization dispute action against countries artificially inflating world oil prices.
“We do not want to see the price of oil get more expensive as we go into the summer driving season,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). “Seven of the biggest oil companies got 13 billion in new stock buybacks, and yet American consumers are facing three to maybe four dollars of gas price in the very near future. That sticker shock to the American family could get worse.”