Gas prices hold steady ahead of Labor Day

Motorists across the country continue to see their local pump prices dropping, AAA said this week.

On the week, state gas price averages declined as much as four cents while the national gas price average held steady at $2.84, which is two-cents cheaper than a month ago, but 48-cents more than a year ago.

“With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing toward higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

Last year’s Labor Day weekend saw gas prices spike, but that was due to Hurricane Harvey. As it battered the Southeast, it shut down refineries and pipelines, driving gas prices toward their highest point of 2017 ($2.67). Despite no hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014.

Nevada remains among the nation’s top 10 most expensive markets. They are Hawaii ($3.76), California ($3.60), Washington ($3.37), Alaska ($3.32), Idaho ($3.26), Oregon ($3.25), Utah ($3.20), Nevada ($3.19), Connecticut ($3.04) and Pennsylvania ($3.03).

And pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the country: Hawaii ($3.76), California ($3.60), Washington ($3.37), Alaska ($3.32), Oregon ($3.25), Nevada ($3.19) and Arizona ($2.86). When compared to last week, most pump prices in the region are flat. Alaska and Arizona had the biggest changes, dropping by a penny each.

On Monday, gas prices ranged $2.77 to $2.82 per gallon in Pahrump, according to a survey by In Tonopah, prices ranged from $3.35 to $3.59. Beatty’s prices ranged from $2.95 to $3.15. In Las Vegas, the range was $2.85 to $2.91.

Higher supplies will help offset potential price spikes in the region if demand increases in the run-up to Labor Day, AAA said.

Additionally, the impact of Hurricane Lane on Hawaii’s gasoline refining and delivery systems has been minimal. Par Pacific, Hawaii’s largest refinery, closed as a safety precaution over the weekend, but it has since restarted.

Gas prices in the region are dropping as demand slips and inventory levels continue to build for three straight weeks, AAA said. However, the coming weeks could bring major year-over-year surpluses in inventories when compared to last August’s major hurricane activity that shut down regional refineries and pipelines.In related news, according to Baker Hughes, Inc., the U.S. lost nine oil rigs last week, bringing the total to 860. Currently, there are 101 more active rigs than last year at this time.

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