The last major holiday of the summer is coming. Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 2.
AAA stopped making travel predications for Labor Day in 2015, saying it is not that popular with travelers. That may not be true this year, with gas prices coming in as some of the lowest of the summer.
As of Aug. 25, the average price for a gallon of unleaded was $2.59 – that’s 25 cents less than Labor Day 2018 and 5 cents less than the price in 2017, according to AAA’s gas price report.
Floridians were saving even more with pump prices averaging $2.37, which is 36 cents less than the same date last year. The average in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Area was 9 cents cheaper at $2.29 with the lowest price reported at Gasbuddy.com coming in at $2.21.
While AAA is skipping its travel predictions, its experts are still making projections for fall prices, which they say are likely to keep going lower as the demand drops and refineries switch to winter-blend gasoline.
“AAA predicts that fall gasoline prices will be significantly less expensive than this summer with motorists finding savings in every market across the country,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson, in a press release. “Many factors are driving this decrease, but the low price of crude oil is chief among them.”
AAA forecasts crude prices to range between $50 and $60 per barrel this fall. That is a considerable drop from last fall when prices ranged between $60 and $75.
Still, expert caution that hurricane season is a factor that has a potential to cause prices to go up in a hurry.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that 2019’s Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be above normal, with 10 to 17 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes. The threat of a hurricane making landfall can shutter domestic crude production, leading to increases in crude and gasoline prices. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey caused the national gas price average to jump 30-cents in a matter of days.
Tropical Storm Dorian is forecast to bring rain and maybe windy conditions to Tampa Bay over the Labor Day holiday; however, its path is not expected to disrupt fuel supplies.
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.