Despite rising gas prices, Americans planning to hit the road this summer [The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.]

April 01– Apr. 1Gas prices keep on rising this spring, but many Americans aren’t letting that stop them from making plans for road trips this summer.

With gas prices last last week sitting at a national average of $2.67 a gallon, up about 50 cents from where they were a couple of months ago, 1 in 3 Americans are still planning to take vacations by car, van or motor home this summer, says AAA Kansas.

According to GasBuddy.com, Topeka’s prices for a gallon of unleaded fuel on Monday morning ranged from $2.43 to $2.55 a gallon, about 24 cents below the national average.

Gas prices are expected to continue to rise to a national average of around $2.75 a gallon before leveling off, AAA says. While higher than the sub-$2 a gallon prices many were paying just a few short weeks ago, the projected high price this summer still would be nearly 20 cents below last spring’s high of $2.92.

Cheaper crude oil prices have helped to keep pump prices lower this winter, said AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano in a news release.

Most areas of the country aren’t expected to see prices in the $3-per-gallon range as they did in May 2018. However, motorists on the West Coast and in the Rockies region likely will see prices reach or exceeded $3 per gallon.

While the first few months of this year ushered in national gas price averages that were at times as much as 35-cents cheaper than a year ago, pump price since the middle of March have been mostly similar to prices at this time a year ago. The national gas price average late last week was four-cents more expensive than a year ago, according to AAA

“Historically, early spring triggers an increase in pump prices due to an increase in demand as Americans put the winter blues behind them and drive more,” Casselano said. “Another factor pumping up the price is the switch-over to summer-blend gasoline, which is more expensive for refiners to produce,”

Gas prices in Kansas and other Midwestern states have been significantly below the national average much of the past few months.

Kansas gas prices have registered 15 to 25 cents less than the national average throughout the spring, and that will most likely continue,” said AAA Kansas spokesman Shawn Steward. “Motorists in the Sunflower State often enjoy average gas prices that are in the top 10 cheapest in the country, allowing road trips that don’t break the bank.”

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