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Gas prices could hit record highs on Labor Day weekend

AAA says the national average for a gallon of gas sits at $3.82. It's tied for record prices for this time of year.
Gas prices could hit record highs on Labor Day weekend
Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 31, 2023

Gas prices are high across the nation. According to AAA, Arizona drivers are paying about 50 cents more for a gallon of gasoline at the pump compared to last month and the national average. And areas across Florida impacted by Hurricane Idalia are also paying more as gas stations scramble to refuel. This comes as many prepare to hit the road for Labor Day. The national average for a gallon of gas — which sits at about $3.83 — is currently tied with the record high for gas price on Labor Day and Labor Day weekend back in 2012, according to AAA data.

"Normally we would be seeing prices coming out of a robust summer travel season more along the lines of $3.50," said Andrew Gross, an AAA spokesperson.

But right now drivers, are paying 30 cents more for gasoline than trends would suggest.

SEE MORE: While preparing for Idalia, Florida reports gas contamination problem

Gross says these high prices are sticking around longer than usual, adding that several factors play a role, including a hot summer that dialed back oil production.  

"Any time oil is around $80.00 and above per barrel, that puts a lot of upward price pressure on the price of gas," Gross said. "So the more expensive the oil, generally the more expensive the gasoline."

While demand for fuel is down, an active hurricane barreling through ahead of a busy driving holiday weekend can disrupt pump prices.

"If you live in an area that was directly impacted by Hurricane Idalia, you will likely have some regional price spikes just because there's some distribution issues," Gross said. 

He says prices could increase if hurricanes in the forecast form near the Gulf of Mexico – home to major oil production sites and refineries.  

"If there's damage, if they have to go offline and that will cause prices to rise across the board and they can go up anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30," he continued. 

This year, Washington state fuel prices ranked the highest — surpassing California.

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