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Gas prices expected to fall this summer. (Credit: KOMUn... Gas prices expected to fall this summer. (Credit: KOMUnews, Flickr)
There will be more Memorial Day travelers on the road this year, facing a slight increase in gas prices, according to AAA.

The group says more than 31 million Americans will be hitting the roads to travel more than 50 miles to a beach, campground or getaway. That's up from last year but still shy of the record 37.3 million people driving on the holiday in 2005.

While gas is up slightly this holiday weekend, averaging $3.66 a gallon compared with $3.64 last Memorial Day, gas prices this summer are expected to dip. Prices should average between $3.20 and $3.40 per gallon during the summer, depending on the state, says AAA, the country's largest motor club. That's good news for road-trippers.

Prices fell in April, down about 13 cents per gallon, or 3.5 percent, to an average of $3.55 per gallon nationally, according to AAA. That's the lowest average for the month of April since 2010. While they're back up a bit for May, experts expect the price will head back down slightly in the summer months.

Increased domestic production of crude oil and geopolitical stability in the Middle East are two reasons for falling fuel prices, says Avery Ash, a spokesman for AAA.

In 2011 and 2012, conflicts in Libya and Iran, respectively, caused the price of crude oil to spike in the springtime, which drove up prices at the pump. The Syrian civil war this year, by contrast, has not disrupted production or shipping.

"At the same time, though, we have seen this year a dramatic increase in domestic crude oil production," Ash says. "That increase in crude oil production can certainly help to protect from some of the volatility that might otherwise be seen from relying on imported crude oil."

Lower demand has helped drive down prices. Lately, the United States has been consuming about 2.2 million barrels of oil less than its 18.83 million barrel-per-day average, says Rayola Dougher, senior economic advisor for the American Petroleum Institute. "That's a significant amount."

Part of the reason is that people are just driving less to save money in this economic recession. But they're also driving more efficient vehicles than in the past, Dougher says.

The price gap between premium and regular gasoline has reached an all-time high of 30 cents, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It hit that level at the end of 2012 and has since held steady. But the price gap between premium and regular has been steadily declining on a percentage basis, from more than 20 percent in 1999 to less than 10 percent today, according to the EIA.

That's in part to the increasing use of ethanol as an octane booster in gasoline over the last decade. Decreased consumption of premium gasoline over the past two decades might also be driving down the price difference between premium and regular gasoline, the EIA says.

The United States consumed a total of 6.87 billion barrels of oil in 2011, according to the EIA, about 22 percent of total world petroleum consumption.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      To the greedy oil companies and gas stations I'm riding my bike this year.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks for an 11 month old article. That goes a long way to create more confusion in the internet news cycle.
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is no reason whatsoever (in my humbled opinion) for gas prices to be so stupidly high. Especially when the oil companies are showing quarterly profits in the several billions!! But as long as "we the people" continue to allow it (as a whole) things simply will not change. A single American voice packs no punch. It will require a powerful enough force to start the process, and the rest of us join the band wagon. The bad thing about this is, the power enough voices (our elected officials) are all being bought and paid off to keep quite. So we continue to be legally raped each-and-every time we visit the pumps!! Someone start the process, I'll bring an army of supporters with me to the forefront of the cause!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      til I saw the bank draft that said $4073, I didn't believe ...that...my best friend really taking home money part-time at there computar.. there dads buddy has done this 4 only about 18 months and just paid the mortgage on their villa and got a gorgeous Ariel Atom. I went here........... Fox85.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      If we want to change this bullshit then we all need to stop buying gas for a solid week. That is the only way they are going to take us seriously. If people are going to just keep paying these prices then we all need to stop complaining. It has to be a nationwide effort to make the oil companies cring and lower prices.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Actually, some of us don't buy gas more than once a month. We are called disabled or retired!
      • 1 Year Ago
      What, you're re-using headlines from 1970? Gas prices ALWAYS go up for the holiday weekend.
        • 1 Year Ago
        You beat me to it. Same thing every beginning of " summer".
      Ron Wizard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Average $1.87 cents Bush last day in office. The good old days of a stand-up president. Do a google search for those who will (no doubt) claim I'm lying. And see who the real liar is. Liberals are incapable of telling the truth about anything, ever. Evident by all the recent scandals and all the past cover-up scandals.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ron Wizard
        Another jerk who just watches FOX news and never check out the real facts
          • 1 Year Ago
          hey John, your an IDIOT, Ron is right, i paid 1.49/gal at that time too, at a Giant Food store in PA!, no go kiss your black friend in the white house!
          • 1 Year Ago
          And you are to dumb to look it up that he is right.
          Grampa Craig
          • 1 Year Ago
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ron Wizard
      • 1 Year Ago
      up to I looked at the paycheck which had said $9822, I be certain that...my... best friend woz like they say really earning money in their spare time from there computar.. there mums best friend has done this 4 only about thirteen months and a short time ago paid the dept on their apartment and purchased a gorgeous Lancia Straton. we looked here............ fox85.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gas prices went up 2 weeks ago in northern Minnesota. $4.30 a gallon. I guess they were planning ahead. Greed is hardly the right word. More like Rape.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Down 5 cents here in SC.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does this surprise anyone???? It goes up every Memorial Day weekend, Lab or Day Weekend, 4th of Ju;ly.... But they always have a reasonalbe excuse.........I think it is simple .....THEY KNOW WE HAVE TO DRIVE SO THEY RAISE GAS PRICES...... and if they are lucky we have a national disaster... so they appear to have a reason.........
      Jim Marcum
      • 1 Year Ago
      And gas prices will go up the 4th of July week.....does that sound familiar?
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