By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you’re planning to be out and about with the RV on Memorial Day weekend, you may see fewer folks on the road and pay a lot less for fuel. According to motorist support group AAA, prices for fuel haven’t been lower since 2003, when the average gallon of regular was running $1.50. While you won’t likely find much gas at that price this year (the current average is $1.87), compared to last year at this time the average price is still a buck less.
With social-distancing still on people’s minds, AAA says it doesn’t anticipate super high volumes of traffic. In fact, their anticipation is, if anything, a record low for a Memorial Day weekend. Because of COVID-19, the group is skipping two decades of tradition and NOT forecasting just how many people will be on the road. The data, they say, just isn’t available to make a properly informed guesstimate.
Nevertheless, it is clear that pump prices are on the upswing. As states are reopening, drive demand is increasing pump prices. If you travel, just where will the best prices be? All indications say the Rocky Mountain states will do the best. Prices in the region are still down, and Idaho is showing $1.22 per gallon less than at this time last year. Utah and Montana join the spud state for being in the Top Ten list for year-over-year price decreases. Still, pump prices are edging up, with Utah now the only state in the region to show prices at more than $2 a gallon.
Other regions are showing some steep price jumps. In the Central and Great Lakes states, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota all hit the Top Ten list of states with the biggest jumps in a week, although all increases were less than 10 cents per gallon. In the South and Southeast, while prices are still well below $2 per gallon, they are rising. Tennessee and Arkansas both saw a 6 cent jump, but the latter still averages a mere $1.52 per gallon price tag. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area, Pennsylvania suffered an 8 cent jump – the largest of all. The highest fuel in the area rings in at $2.15 a gallon in New York and D.C.
Finally, there’s the West Coast. Expect more increases to add misery to the already highest prices in the country. California and Nevada tie in the race for who had the biggest weekly jump – 4 cents. Arizona whacked everyone, dropping a penny. In the war for the highest price per gallon, Hawaii wins, hands-down, at $3.17, but there aren’t too many RVers cruising the islands. California, at $2.80, was the next. Low on the pole? Alaska at $2.05 per gallon narrowly edges out Arizona’s $2.07 average.
Traveling with cheap fuel? Put on your face mask and gloves or, at the least, sanitize the pump before you touch it, and stay safe out there.