A drop in demand ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend is keeping gas prices in check before the traditional signoff to summer driving season.
According to the American Automobile Association, the national average sat at $2.84 per gallon, staying roughly within the same band it has for the last few weeks.
Locally, drivers are paying less – much less in the case of Lee County. Monday’s average fill-up in Lee County runs $2.66 per gallon, only five counties in the state of Florida are running lower on average. In Naples, Monday’s average fuel price is $2.77 per gallon, down four cents in the last week but still above the $2.73 state average.
Labor Day weekend also closes up on the period where, in 2017, gas prices spiked and hit their highest point of the year thanks to the double-whammy of Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the key fuel refining areas of the Gulf Coast in late August, and Hurricane Irma’s early September landfall triggering the largest evacuation in the history of the state of Florida.
Fuel prices jumped as much as 50 cents in a matter of a couple weeks as reduced capacity and heightened demand drew many pumps dry along the Southeast. Fortunately, with a quiet tropics as August comes to a close, no such disruptions are on the horizon.
“Pump prices are 40-50 cents higher than a year ago, but that spread will be erased by Labor Day,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Holiday travelers will find pump prices at around the same level as last year. In 2017, gas prices spiked before Labor Day, after Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast. This year, motorists should benefit from a relatively quiet hurricane season along the east coast. Although pump prices may fluctuate with surging holiday demand, AAA does not forecast a significant hike, unless there is an unexpected disruption in supply.”
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