July 02–Gas prices are expected to climb higher on July 4, hitting $3 a gallon at some stations across the U.S. as drivers gear up for road trips on one of the year’s busiest travel days.
San Antonio drivers won’t feel as much of a pinch, though they are paying more at the pump this year. Gas prices averaged $2.51 a gallon Sunday, up more than 55 cents higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy, which tracks fuel costs nationwide.
Nationally, with the U.S. benchmark for crude oil settling above $74 a barrel last week, prices are expected to average $2.90 a gallon during the holiday, up from $2.22 a gallon last year. As a result, GasBuddy anticipates that American drivers will spend $1.02 billion more at the pump during the first four days of July.
The motor club AAA predicts about 47 million Americans will travel during the Independence Day holiday, including about 40 million will by car, an increase of nearly 6 percent from 2017. AAA Texas estimates nearly 3 million Texans will travel by car between July 3 and July 8, a 5.5 percent increase over 2017.
After declining for more than a month, gasoline prices have jumped alongside oil prices, driven by a decline in global oil inventories and news that foreign producers won’t substantially ramp up production amid a U.S. drilling boom.
The rally reverses several weeks of falling oil prices, which began to slide late last month when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it would increase production after two years of curtailing it. The group met late last month and agreed to lower-than-expected increases, easing market jitters.
On top of that, the U.S. Energy Department reported on Wednesday that crude oil stockpiles fell by nearly 10 million barrels, the largest decline this year. The news came a day after the Trump administration threatened to sanction countries that fail to cut imports of Iranian oil by early November, a move that could further reduce global supplies.
Nationally, gas prices reached an average of $2.98 per gallon as refiners completed their transition to pricier, summer-grade fuel blends. Gasoline prices typically peak in May or June, but Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said fuel costs should continue to rise this summer on the strength of the oil market.
“We’ll see prices take another run at $3 a gallon,” he said.
Staff writer Rye Druzin contribued to this report.
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