Drivers on the open road this Labor Day weekend may feel heavier pockets after hitting the pump. Even amid violence in the Middle East and rising tensions in Ukraine, this Labor Day is expected to be the cheapest for driving in four years, according to data and analysis from research firm GasBuddy.com.
Cheaper crude oil and increased domestic production cutting costs at refineries have lowered pump prices since July, and the trend will likely continue into autumn. Seasonal declines for fuel are not uncommon—Labor Day typically marks the end of the driving season and comes only a few weeks before suppliers are able to start selling cheaper blends of gas fit for the colder months.
The shale boom is also definitely a factor in lower prices. The U.S. is not only producing more crude, it is also producing more natural gas, a crucial component in the oil refining process, said GasBuddy chief oil analyst Tom Kloza.
Drivers in 10 states could end up paying less than $3.25 per gallon this weekend: New Jersey, Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. This is partly because some of these states are close to major refineries, and partly due to lower taxes on gasoline in some states.