PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Gas prices are dropping in Peoria as the summer driving season starts, putting the average price per gallon at $3.17.
According to GasBuddy’s weekly survey of 148 stations in Peoria, the price of a gallon went down 1.9 cents over the past week. Gas prices in Peoria are 13.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
The cheapest gas price in the area is priced at $2.98 while the most expensive price is $3.39 per gallon, a difference of 41 cents per gallon.
Comparatively, gas prices across the state average $3.16 per gallon, down 3.4 cents from last week’s price. Champaign’s average price dropped to $3.12 per gallon as well, and over in the Quad Cities, the average price fell to $2.94 per gallon.
AAA predicted on Memorial Day Weekend, drivers will pay the highest gas prices since 2014. Spokesperson Jeanette McGee said pump prices are likely to fluctuate leading up to the holiday weekend.
“AAA expects 37 million Americans to travel, mostly by car and plane, for the Memorial Day holiday weekend,” McGee said. “That is a 60% increase over last year’s holiday and a strong indication that summer travel is going to be largely popular. With the increase in travel demand, gas prices are going to be expensive no matter where you fill up, so plan ahead.”
AAA also offered a few road tips for Memorial Day drivers:
- Make a good BET before hitting the road: get your battery, engine, and tires checked
- Consider refueling when your gas tank level hits ¼ of a tank
- Fill up before arriving at your vacation destination. Gas prices are likely to be cheaper outside of popular travel destinations
- Use your AAA app to find the closest gas station on your route. You can always call ahead to confirm their pumps are flowing
- Do not leave home without an emergency roadside kit. Include a mobile phone and car charger, first-aid kit, blankets, drinking water, a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic toolkit, warning flares, and jumper cables
- Don’t forget extra snacks or meals, as well as cleaning supplies, including disinfecting wipes
GasBuddy Petroleum Analysis Head Patrick De Haan said with Memorial Day coming up, gas prices have not fallen too far, but he believes drivers may see the difference at the gas pump
“In the lead up to Memorial Day, we haven’t seen gas prices come down much, though with oil’s recent move lower, we should start to see more drops at the pump materialize in the days ahead,” De Haan said in a blog post.
“With the Colonial Pipeline situation continuing to improve in Southeastern states, fueling up for the holiday weekend shouldn’t be too challenging, save for a few pockets in GA, NC, and SC, where outages remain a bit higher than neighboring states. For those hitting the road, we should see prices inch lower in the coming week through at least Memorial Day, so motorists need not rush to fill their tanks as the drop in oil prices should manifest into lower gas prices as we begin the summer driving season.”
De Haan also explained why the summer gas season drives prices up at the pump. He said it has everything to do with summer-grade gasoline, a “re-configured version of gasoline,” which follows certain requirements controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Basically, in warmer months and temperatures, gasoline is more volatile and can evaporate easier given the heat,” De Haan said. “This gasoline vapor then clouds cities during hot weather and leads to air pollution and can be dangerous for subsets of the populus. The requirements modify gasoline to use cleaner less volatile ingredients during summer months, which cost more to produce, like all things that are better, they cost more. These restrictions are eased again at the end of summer due to cooler fall and winter temperatures.”
He also described how localized laws create a separate problem by requiring select gasoline from different areas, making the logistics of shipping gasoline complex.
“Some areas have a very stringent type of summer gasoline-like major cities — while rural areas use a different type of summer gasoline,” De Haan continued. “When there are no refinery issues, this usually is a challenge that can be dealt with. However, when a refinery that produces several varieties of summer gasoline goes down, it can be very costly to have to bring in that area’s required type of gasoline and other refineries may not produce that special blend or may have to adjust.”
He predicts the price of gas will go up in the summer, saying typically, more people are on the road during summer.
“Due to the huge drop in demand last year for oil and the massive drop in price, oil producers greatly scaled back, but didn’t plan on demand bouncing back so much this year, so supply has not matched the rise in demand, a factor that could raise summer prices higher this year than recent years, until oil producers start ramping back up,” De Haan said.
Should gasoline demand rise to near-record levels, De Haan predicted the national average to be $2.98 on Memorial Day. He said prices will likely stay in the upper $2 per gallon range or even the lower $3 per gallon range as midsummer approaches.