Filling up your tank this Independence Day will be cheaper than it has been in more than a decade, analysts say.
This holiday weekend, GasBuddy.com reports that gas prices nationally are at their lowest level since July 4, 2005.
In the Austin area, AAA Texas says the average price per gallon for unleaded fuel is $2.05, down a nickel compared with a week ago. Statewide, the average is a penny less, coming in at $2.04. Gas in the state is cheapest in Amarillo, where it’s currently going for $1.89.
Across the country, gas prices fell this week everywhere except Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, according to AAA Texas. The average price per gallon nationwide sits at $2.24, AAA Texas said, and has fallen for nearly 30 straight days.
High crude oil inventory and “less-than-favorable” demand are among the reasons AAA Texas cites for the continued decline in prices.
“It’s thrilling to see gas prices falling just in time for the most-traveled summer holiday,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst. “Perhaps we can finally get rid of the myth that gas prices go up for the holiday.
“Most importantly, motorists are getting a well-deserved break at the pump after years of high summer gas prices. This is like Christmas in July, instead of seeing fireworks at the pumps like we saw just a few short years ago.”
For the first time in the 17 years it has been tracking fuel prices, GasBuddy says the cost of filling up your tank will be less on Independence Day than on New Year’s Day this year — 13 cents per gallon less, to be exact.
Nationally, GasBuddy says Independence Day gas prices peaked in 2008, topping out at $4.09 per gallon. As recently as 2014, they were still north of $3, coming in at $3.66.
GasBuddy, which relies on consumers to report the cost of fuel online and via its app, found several gas stations in Austin that were selling well below the area’s $2.05 average on Friday, including the Costco and Sam’s Club in the Arboretum area, where the price was $1.85 — 20 cents per gallon below the average.
A pair of Texaco stations — one in the Lakeway area; the other in the Oak Hill area — were among the most expensive spots in Central Texas, according to GasBuddy, coming in at $2.19. That’s 14 cents per gallon more than the region’s average.
Across the country, 44.2 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more Friday through Tuesday, with most – 37.5 million – driving to their destination, according to the national AAA office. That’s 1.25 million more people than last year.
“Motorists in Texas are enjoying lower gas prices as a record number of Texans, 2.7 million, prepare to hit the road to celebrate our nation’s freedom this holiday weekend,” AAA Texas spokesman Daniel Armbruster said. “AAA Texas encourages travelers to address any auto maintenance or repairs before taking a road trip.”
Nationally, AAA says it expects to assist 338,000 motorists over the holiday weekend.
An estimated 3.44 million travelers will take to the skies this weekend, up 4.6 percent compared with last year, while an additional 3.27 million will rely on other modes of transit, such as buses, cruises and trains.
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president for travel and publishing in the national AAA office. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
It’s not just cheap gas prices that are fueling that demand, AAA says. Airfares are down, on average, 10 percent, with the average round-trip ticket to the top 40 travel destinations running $186. Car rental prices, meanwhile, have decreased 14 percent, averaging $65 per day. Hotel rates are unchanged compared with last year, AAA said.
These are the top spots for travel this summer, according to the national AAA office:
• Orlando, Fla.
• Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
• Cancun, Mexico
• Seattle, Wash.
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
• Honolulu, Hawaii
• Anaheim, Calif.
• Anchorage, Alaska
• Las Vegas, Nev.
• Montego Bay, Jamaica