July 4 gas prices highest in 4 years, costing drivers $1B more than 2017 |

July 4 gas prices highest in 4 years, costing drivers $1B more than 2017

Brian C. Rittmeyer

Gas prices on July 4 are expected to be the highest they’ve been in four years, costing drivers $1 billion more than they paid in 2017, according to price analyst GasBuddy.

Drivers will be paying an average of $2.90 per gallon, the highest prices since 2014, the Boston-based firm said Thursday.

“Making holiday travel sourer this year is that a price jump is looming,” GasBuddy said. “After five straight weeks of prices dropping, gas prices are likely to increase again ahead of July 4 as oil prices surged to $73 per barrel yesterday, the highest since 2014.”

The State Department has also ordered buyers to curb oil purchases from Iran by November. OPEC’s smaller than expected oil production increase last week fueled speculation that global inventories will continue to drop, and a government report showed U.S. oil inventories dropped three times as much as expected as petroleum exports from the U.S. hit a new record high.

Although current gas prices are below the peak of $2.98 per gallon in May, buying gas will cost drivers $1.02 billion more than last year over the first four days of July.

“Even with high gas prices, however, most motorists aren’t likely to curtail their travel during the most popular summer holiday, due to its appeal and rich tradition celebrating the nation’s birthday,” GasBuddy said.

GasBuddy suggests motorists traveling out of state to check prices before crossing a state line.

“Crossing a line can be exciting and fun during summer road trips, until drivers realize that they left cheaper gas prices in the dust,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “Instead, motorists should mind the state line and find the best side to fill up on.

“In some extreme cases, we’ve seen consumers spend an extra $25 on a single tank when refueling on the wrong side of the line,” he said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or on Twitter @BCRittmeyer.

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