Gas prices down about $1 since last Memorial Day

Here’s some good news for your wallet — it will cost less to drive to your holiday weekend destination than it did last Memorial Day.

Gasoline prices are about 20 cents a gallon higher than a month ago, but this is the time of year when they usually peak, said Tom Kloza, who directs energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey.

“We’re about somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.73 nationally with something closer to $2.60 in New Jersey, but there are plenty of places where you can buy for about 15 or 20 cents less,” he said. “And compared to last year and the Memorial Day before that and the one before that, we’re down about a buck.”

Gas prices are averaging $2.85 in the Philadelphia area, while drivers in the Wilmington, Delaware, region are paying about $2.60.  Kloza does not expect prices will go much higher.

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“Without an event, without a hurricane for example in July or August, I think we’re probably peaking here with Memorial Day weekend, and we’ll see prices drop back a little bit,” he said. “So we’ll remain about a dollar below last year, and last year we spent most of the summer between $3.50 and $3.70.”

He predicts prices will move lower when summer ends.

“After Labor Day, demand drops appreciably … 400,000 barrels a day or so,” Kloza said. “I would not be surprised if we don’t see prices close to $2 or less in the last hundred days of the year.”

Kloza says most of the money consumers are saving from lower gas prices is not being spent elsewhere in the economy.

“There’s a little bit of lift for driving and a little bit of lift in stores and restaurants, but it looks as though America is putting some of that savings into its pocketbook right now or paying back debt,” he said.

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