Gas prices likely to rise for Labor Day

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

LAPLACE — With summer drawing to a close, motorists have enjoyed the cheapest summer at the pump since 2004, saving $18.9 billion over its duration versus last summer, a timely note as drivers soon take to the roads to celebrate Labor Day.

“As the holiday approaches, it’s true that gasoline prices have risen across the country due in part to rumors of production cuts from OPEC, which could begin to correct the balance of supply and demand, but take note — it could be just the third time in a decade prices are rising ahead of Labor Day,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.

This was noted in the River Parishes, as motorists saw Louisiana’s average retail gasoline prices rise 1.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.95/g Sunday.

Including the change in gas prices in Louisiana during the past week, prices Sunday were 35.8 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 6.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average has decreased 9.4 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 55.1 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“While today’s trend may lead to some frustration, gas prices are likely to soon revert, leaving behind what has been the cheapest summer at the pump in over a decade,” DeHaan said.

According to GasBuddy analysts, gasoline prices have remained low even in light of high gasoline demand due to rampant oil production, leading supply to outpace demand for several years, causing oil inventories to bulge and depressing oil prices.

In addition, as U.S. production has increased over the last several years, oil producing countries have been fighting to win back market share. Saudi Arabia was a key player in driving oil prices down by announcing a new strategy to pump as much as they could late in 2014.

The downturn accelerated when sanctions on Iran were eased, leading Iran to boost production and fight for market share against Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The U.S. national average for a gallon of gasoline is likely to close out the summer driving season having averaged $2.24 per gallon compared to 2015’s summer average of $2.70 per gallon.

For Labor Day, GasBuddy expects the national average to be $2.19 per gallon, a slight decrease versus the current national average of $2.21 per gallon and far lower than prices during the early part of the decade.