Similar to last year, retail gas prices dropped prior to the busiest summer driving weekend, the Independence Day holiday. On average, pump prices in the Southeast fell 6 cents from last week, making it a little more affordable for motorists to travel this upcoming weekend.
Multiple factors placed upward pressure on oil prices, but it was the jump in the value of the U.S. dollar and the increase in refinery output that kept crude prices at bay last week. The dollar rose to a three-week high against other currencies and refinery output jumped to 90 percent, the highest level so far this year.
Nationally, the cost for a gallon of regular gasoline during the 2012 holiday weekend was $3.36, about 20 cents less than what it will likely be this Independence Day holiday weekend.
"Although gas prices are higher than they were this time last year, the price trend is relatively the same with gas prices retreating before millions of Americans travel for Independence Day," said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. "About 41 million people plan to take a trip this holiday and gas prices are not expected to deter them."
The cost for a barrel of oil closed last Friday at $96.56 on the New York Mercantile Exchange â" $2.87 more than the week prior.
The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.49, 8 cents less than last week. Florida's average of $3.45 and Tennessee's average of $3.28 both fell 6 cents from last week. Georgia's average price for a gallon of gas is $3.37, 7 cents less than last Sunday. Visit AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report to find national, state, and local metro market retail gasoline prices.CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES Regular Unleaded Gasoline Current Week Ago Month Ago Year AgoNational: $3.492 $3.573 $3.612 $3.337Florida: $3.452 $3.510 $3.464 $3.196Georgia: $3.366 $3.442 $3.458 $3.140Tennessee: $3.279 $3.335 $3.267 $3.019