Gasoline prices in the United States were up slightly on Memorial Day, the official start of the summer driving season, though Americans are still paying less at the pump than they were a year ago, or even a month ago.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline at American pumps on Monday was $3.582, up from $3.540 a week ago, but down from the month-ago average of $3.615 and the year-ago average of $4.610, according to AAA.
Gasoline prices are still higher than they were prior to 2022 when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Consumers on the West Coast continue to see the highest gasoline prices, while the cheapest prices are found in the Southeast.
Forecasters expect Memorial Day gasoline demand to increase by 6% year-over-year for 2023, predicting that more than 37 million Americans will have hit the roads over the extended holiday weekend.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data last week showing that gasoline demand had risen from 8.91 to 9.43 million barrels per day, while domestic gasoline stockpiles saw a draw of 2 million barrels, suggesting a possible tightening of supplies if sustained.
Low crude oil prices continue to help keep gasoline prices down, with AAA anticipating that prices at the pump will either be flat or fall further after Memorial Day.
Americans are closely watching pump prices amid economic uncertainty.
While crude oil trading was set to be subdued on Monday due to public holidays in both the U.S. and the UK, crude oil prices fell further in morning trading despite a tentative debt ceiling deal in Washington that is expected to avert a default. The agreement between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will suspend the $34.5-trillion debt ceiling and cap government spending for the next two years. Democrats and Republicans must now vote to support the deal, which means this battle is not yet over, and market jitters remain.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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