Gas prices – whew! – are lower as summer travel approaches

(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As many people get ready to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, prepare to spend a little less at the pump.

Experts say gas prices this summer will be the lowest we’ve seen in more than a decade, which is good news for the more than 1 million North Carolina drivers expected to travel on the roads for the unofficial start to summer this weekend.

Prices at the pump have risen a little over the past couple weeks, but compared to this time last year, consumers are saving about $0.30 to $0.40 a gallon. Compared to two years ago, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says the average household will spend about $900 less on gasoline this year.

Local consumer expert and Director of ECU’s Bureau of Business Research Dr. Jim Kleckley says this is great news for drivers.

“It’s almost like a tax cut. You know if you have to pay x number of dollars a week to fill up your car, well you’re paying less than that now than you were a year ago. So from a consumer standpoint, that’s really good,” Dr. Kleckley said.

This drop in prices means you can expect to see even more cars on the road this summer. So WNCT wanted to know if this increase in demand will drive prices up. Dr. Kleckley says probably not.

“It tends to be more, you see spike in prices when something extraordinary happens. You think of the hurricanes in the gulf,” Dr. Kleckley said.

North Carolina drivers are paying on average $0.10 less than the national average right now, which is $2.31 as of Wednesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects the average price of a gallon of gasoline this summer to be $2.21.

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