STATE — Gas prices have jumped noticeably higher ahead of the last (unofficial) weekend of summer, thanks to Isaac’s impact on refinery capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 550 oil platforms and rigs off of the Gulf Coast were shut down, cutting off 93% (over 2 million barrels) of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil production.
The nearly week-long disruption has sent gas prices up in every state across the country. The national average price for a gallon of regular self-serve gasoline rose to $3.83 per gallon Friday. This price is 10 more than one week ago, 31 cents more than one month ago and 21 cents more than year ago prices. In New Jersey, the average price is $3.69 per gallon, four cents higher than last week and 15 cents higher than a year ago.
“The unofficial end of summer is here and despite recent gas price increase, most people will keep their travel plans for the Labor Day weekend,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Most travel plans are confirmed and pre-paid well in advance, therefore recent gas price spikes, especially as a result of Isaac, won’t likely impact Labor Day weekend travel. However, it is possible that last-minute or impromptu travel plans could be impacted by gas price increases.”
Although prices at the pump have moved higher in recent weeks, compounded by Isaac, experts believe the trend will reverse as demand decreases post-Labor Day and into the fall as gas stations switch to less expensive winter blended gasoline.
AAA Travel projects 28.2 million people (85 percent of holiday travelers) will make their Labor Day holiday journey by automobile, considered the most convenient mode of travel for many Americans. This is a 3.1 percent increase over the 27.3 million people who took to the nation’s roadways in 2011.
AAA Mid-Atlantic, serves nearly four million members in parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and throughout Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and is on the Web at aaa.com/community.