AAA: Fall Gas Prices Forecast to Average 25¢ per Gallon Cheaper than Summer

Aurora, Ill., (August 29, 2018) – AAA forecasts the national average price at the pump will drop to $2.70 or below this fall. That is 14-cents per gallon less than Tuesday’s average price and more than a quarter cheaper than this year’s record high of $2.97 set in May.
 
“Labor Day signals the end of the summer travel season and the beginning of an autumn trend that normally leads to lower gas prices,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA.  “In September, gasoline demand drops and refiners switch to a cheaper-to-produce winter-blend fuel, putting downward pressure on prices at the pump. However, several outliers can reverse this forecast, including crude oil price hikes, geopolitical tensions and the threat of a hurricane.”

2018 gas prices have been significantly more expensive than 2017. In fact, the year-to-date national gas price average ($2.73) is 41-cents more than last year. In Illinois, the year-to-date average is $2.80, 43 cents more than 2017. And in Indiana, the 2018 year-to-date average is $2.74, 49 cents more than last year at this time. 
 
Trends for Year-Over-Year State Averages:  
What Will Push Pump Prices Down this fall?
Part of the anticipated drop in fall pump prices is due to the switchover to winter-blend gasoline in mid-September. The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasolines involves the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) of the fuel. RVP is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. The more volatile a gasoline (higher RVP), the easier it evaporates. Winter-blend fuel, which is cheaper to produce, has a higher RVP because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly, especially when the engine is cold.
 
In addition, the arrival of fall historically means a drop in consumer gasoline demand as fewer Americans take extended road trips, compared to the summer.
 
What Could Prevent Cheaper Gas Prices from Coming to a Pump Near You?

 
AAA 2018 Gas Watcher’s Guide
In time for fall, AAA is releasing the 2018 Gas Watcher’s Guide with tips for conserving fuel, saving money and maintaining fuel efficiency. The Guide offers these tips – and many more - for motorists to keep in mind as they fill-up at the pump: Motorists can find current gas prices at GasPrices.AAA.com and along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.