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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gas prices have fallen for 24 straight days as of July 5, resulting in the lowest price for the Independence Day holiday since 2005. The current national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.25, a savings of three cents per gallon for the week and nine cents per gallon on the month, according to AAA.
U.S. drivers are seeing even bigger savings year over year, with prices down 50-cents-per-gallon compared to the same date in 2015.
A record 43 million drivers hit the road over the Fourth of July Weekend, according to AAA, and 2016 will likely continue to see Americans driving in record numbers. The rebounding economy and gas prices that reflect substantial yearly savings across the country are major contributors to the increase in gasoline demand and vehicle miles traveled, both of which are on track to set all-time highs this year.
Higher demand puts upward pressure on prices, such as this spring when gas prices increased for 84 out of 104 days starting at the end of February, rising by more than 65 cents during this time period, AAA said. This year's increase was also affected by regional refinery issues that sent prices temporarily higher in some markets, which often occurs during the change from winter-blend gas to summer-blend gas. Prices may continue to drop through July, but further refinery issues, stronger than anticipated economic growth, geopolitical tensions overseas or hurricanes that impact distribution and production in the United States have the potential to reverse the downward trend and prompt prices to rise again.
The West Coast is seeing the nation's current highest average gas prices per gallon, with the highest in California ($2.91), Hawaii ($2.82), Washington ($2.67), Alaska ($2.65) and Nevada ($2.57). Despite these high prices, drivers in many of these states are seeing the largest year-over-year declines. Alaska has the highest yearly discount at -82 cents, followed by Utah (-65 cents), Nevada (-63 cents), Oregon (-61 cents), Idaho (-57 cents) and Hawaii (-55 cents).
The least expensive markets are South Carolina ($1.96), Mississippi ($2.02), Alabama ($2.05), Arkansas ($2.05) and Oklahoma ($2.05).