Gainesville and Georgia drivers may see relief at the gas pump heading into the Memorial Day holiday weekend and beyond into the summer months.
According to Gregg Laskoski of GasBuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of gas in Georgia is $3.62. A year ago, it was $3.44, he said.
“Across the country, we are seeing a tremendous amount of (gas) price diversity,” Laskoski said. “In some instances, we are seeing gas prices that are 10 to 30 cents a gallon less than where they were a year ago.
“In other places, we are seeing them 10 to 30 cents higher than they were a year ago.”
He said factors for the big fluctuation in prices include maintenance at refineries as they make the switch to summer-blend gasoline, the price of crude oil, which is at $103 a barrel, and the diminished use of imported gasoline.
Laskoski said he expects prices to begin falling going into this weekend.
“A lot of consumers automatically think that when you’re heading into a major travel holiday that gas prices have to go up,” he said. “Believe it or not, in nine of the last 14 years, as we approached the Memorial Day weekend, prices went down.”
He also said GasBuddy analysts are “fairly confident” prices will be higher this weekend than the Fourth of July holiday.
“We’re expecting these prices to move lower at a fairly gradual rate,” Laskoski said. “It’s not going to be a steep decline but a gradual decline.”
Laskoski said the average across the country could drop as much as 5 cents between today and Memorial Day weekend and 10 to 15 cents lower going into the Fourth of July weekend.
“Overall, Americans in 2013, we averaged from January through December $3.49 a gallon for gasoline. We believe in 2014 Americans are going to pay less, and that we are going to average closer to $3.39 a gallon,” he said.
“That’s barring any unforeseen events that we really can’t predict right now. We are hoping that we have a very quiet hurricane season like we had last year. We’re hoping to avoid the geopolitical events, like what was going on in Syria and any turmoil that can come about in the Middle East, we hope we can stay fairly quiet in those areas and help keep global crude oil prices as flat as they are.”
According to the GasBuddy website, the Marathon gas station at 1785 Browns Bridge Road and Delta Drive on Monday saw prices drop as low as $3.49. The Shell station at 2580 Monroe Drive and Athens Highway and QuikTrip at 897 W. Ridge Road and E.E Butler Parkway saw their prices dip to $3.53, nine cents below the state average.