Gas Prices Jump Above $3 in These 10 States Ahead of Memorial Day
A new report from AAA shows that 43 million Americans will travel over the holiday weekend. They will face fairly high gasoline prices, which will sting particularly in 10 states where the price is above $3 per gallon for regular.
The national average for a gallon of gas is currently $2.83, which is about the same as a month ago. The primary reason is that the price of oil is just below $60 a barrel for West Texas Intermediate crude, a widely accepted yardstick. It has been just above or below that sum for over a month. This is after almost three months of great price instability that began early in the year.
State gas prices are mainly determined by oil prices, gas taxes and transportation costs. That is true in the case of the 10 states with per-gallon gas prices above $3, according to GasBuddy: Illinois at $3.01, Arizona at $3.13, Utah at $3.17, Idaho at $3.19, Oregon at $3.41, Alaska at $3.44, Nevada at $3.47, Washington at $3.52, Hawaii at $3.60 and California at $3.99.
The gas taxes in most of these states are high compared to the national average. The American Petroleum Institute’s data show that the national average fuel tax is $0.5264 a gallon. This includes base state taxes, state excise taxes and the federal tax. California ranks second highest on the list at $0.7358 per gallon. Washington’s total is $0.6780. Hawaii is $0.6516 and Illinois is at $0.5527. A notable exception is Alaska, where the tax is the lowest in the nation at $0.3274. The state has not changed its tax since 1970, the longest period without a change among all states. Alaska has long been among the states with the lowest gas taxes.
Also notable, most of the states on the high gas prices list are far from some of the country’s largest refineries, which affects transportation costs. Seven of the 10 largest refineries in the United States, based on capacity, are in Texas and Louisiana. One is in Mississippi. All are close to the huge supplies of crude in the Gulf of Mexico.
Oil prices have not moved enough recently to make it likely there will be a wild swing in gas prices soon. For drivers, that is good news overall, since prices recently neared a 12-month high.
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