Make us your home page
Instagram

Fill 'er up now! Gas prices are climbing as Memorial Day weekend approaches

Gas prices are rising before the Memorial Day holiday, which is not unusual, though gas is more expensive today than it has been all year. 

MONICA HERNDON | TIMES

Gas prices are rising before the Memorial Day holiday, which is not unusual, though gas is more expensive today than it has been all year. MONICA HERNDON | TIMES

Gasoline is more expensive today than it has been all year, but the cost at the pump this Memorial Day weekend will still be the lowest it has been over the summer kickoff holiday in 11 years.

On Wednesday, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Tampa was $2.13, according to gasbuddy.com, up about 2 cents from last week and 15 cents from last month.

The national average was $2.29 per gallon, a 7-cent increase per gallon from last week and a 15-cent increase from last month, according to AAA. Florida's average prices have risen nine days in a row.

National gas price averages have increased every day for about two weeks, but are still lower than last year's price of about $2.60 per gallon, said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA.

A recent increase in the price of oil, a switch to a new "summer blend" of gasoline and a rise in demand are the likely culprits behind the spike, Jenkins said.

"More people are driving and, in fact, are pushing the record for high levels of traffic," Jenkins said. "With gas prices being so low, it's more enticing for people to take a road trip."

AAA estimates that more than 38 million Americans will travel over Memorial Day weekend, an increase of 700,000 over last year's numbers. That's the highest volume reported by AAA since 2005 and the second-highest travel volume ever reported by the organization. Of those 38 million, about 89 percent plan to drive, according to AAA.

Wildfires in the Canadian province of Alberta have also caused some interruptions in oil supply, Jenkins said. When the price of oil will stabilize is "anyone's guess," he said.

The rise in prices is somewhat cyclical, said Kevin Doyle, executive director for the consumer advocacy group Consumer Energy Alliance.

Gas prices usually rise as seasons change because of an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that requires manufacturers create a "summer blend" of gas with lower emissions. Refineries empty their gasoline reserves before switching to the new blend and use the break to complete any lingering maintenance, which cuts down on gasoline production, Doyle said.

Refineries have to switch to the summer blend by June 1.

Prices should begin to stabilize after Memorial Day weekend and likely will remain low.

"A lot of that has to do with Americans producing more energy in the U.S. and Canada," Doyle said. "The more we produce here, the more gasoline we have in the market, which cuts prices for everyone."

Fill 'er up now! Gas prices are climbing as Memorial Day weekend approaches 05/25/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]