This is the Time to Hit the Highway

Prices at the pump this summer will be at least $1 cheaper per gallon than last summer.

This is the Time to Hit the Highway Photo (cc) by timo_w2s

There’s good news for all of you summer road trippers: you’ll pay the cheapest prices at the pump this summer since 2009.

That’s according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which just released its short-term energy and summer fuels outlook. The EIA said the average price of regular gasoline this summer will be $2.45 per gallon. Last summer’s gas averaged $3.59 per gallon.

Cheap gas could be a boon to the economy this summer. The New York Times said:

The lower gasoline prices should encourage families to take to the road for their vacations, helping hotels, restaurants and amusement parks as well as refiners and gasoline stations. Lower-income consumers, who pay a relatively higher percentage of their incomes on energy than more affluent people, will benefit the most from the lower prices.

The EIA said the average American household will spend about $700 less on gas this year compared with last. Annual vehicle fuel expenditures are on track to fall to their lowest level in 11 years, the EIA added.

So, why is gas so cheap, especially as we head into the summer, when gas prices typically increase?

“In general, the world is expected to have more oil on hand than it needs this year, and that will keep the price of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum-based fuels relatively cheap,” Bankrate said.

The EIA said West Coasters will pay the highest fuel prices this summer, at about $2.82 per gallon, while Gulf Coast residents will pay just $2.25 per gallon. Retail prices in the rest of the country should average about $2.41 per gallon.

“Prices on the West Coast are often the highest in the country because California requires a blend of gasoline that is relatively costly to produce and some states in the region have higher state tax rates than the national average,” the EIA said.

My family has a few road trips planned this summer, and we also want to get out on the lake with our boat, so we’re excited about cheaper-than-average gas prices.

Do you have any road trips planned this summer? How do fuel prices play into your trip planning? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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