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AAA forecasts summer national gas price average to drop to $2.70

When it comes to filling-up at the pump, Georgia motorists are now paying an average price of $2.54 per gallon. That price is 23 cents less than the current national average which is $2.77.

AAA’s 2019 Gas Price survey found that 50 percent of consumers think paying $3/gallon is too high – an increase of 30-cents from last year when half of consumers reported $2.70 as too expensive. 2019’s price point is also 50 cents more than in 2016, when half of consumers thought $2.50 was too much to pay at the pump. With gas price sensitivity lowering over the past three years, Americans are feeling numb to the pain at the pump.

AAA forecasts U.S. gas prices will average $2.70 per gallon this summer. If that price holds, it would be the cheapest summer at the pump in two years. 

During previous summer driving seasons (Memorial Day - Labor Day), Georgia gas prices averaged $2.83/g in 2018, $2.23/g in 2017, and $2.27 in 2016.

“There is good news for motorists this summer - the highest prices of the year could be in the rearview mirror,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA- The Auto Club Group. “With most refineries operating at normal levels, demand at robust rates, and cheaper crude oil prices, summer gas prices are poised to be a little less than last year –dropping as much as a dime to lower the national average to $2.70.”

Even with Americans being more tolerant of higher gas prices, you can still expect 74 percent of Americans to make lifestyle changes to offset increased pump prices. Of those, nearly a quarter (24 percent) say $2.75/g would motivate them to make the following changes: 

Combine errands or trips – 65 percent (down from 79 percent in 2018)

Drive less – 60 percent (down from 73 percent in 2018)

Reduce shopping or dining out – 49 percent (down from 61 percent in 2018)

Delay major purchases – 43 percent (down from 50 percent in 2018)

Drive a more fuel efficient vehicle – 35 percent (down from 46 percent in 2018)

The 2019 summer driving season began with crude oil prices that are much more favorable for drivers than last year.

2019 - After reaching a 2019 high of $66 per barrel in April, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, which AAA tracks to understand impact on pump prices recently dropped to just below $52 per barrel. 

2018 - The price of WTI ranged from $64 to $68 per barrel in the first few weeks of June. Eventually crude prices rose to $74 per barrel in July, which dragged Florida gas prices up to $2.80 per gallon. 

The price of crude is a driving factor when it comes to retail gasoline prices, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the price motorists see at the pump year-round. While crude prices have been cheaper this year, AAA is monitoring a number of circumstances that could cause crude oil market prices to increase. This includes reductions in global and domestic crude supply, exports, and U.S. gasoline demand - all of which could be heavily influenced by an active hurricane season..

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