GO
Loading...

Lower gas prices mean cheaper rides this holiday

A woman pumps gas in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Getty Images
A woman pumps gas in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

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.

Read MoreSurvey: US gas prices down 4 cents per gallon

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.

Customers may see some greater discounts after Sept. 15, when the "recipe" for gas changes to a cheaper winter blend, Kloza said. By Veterans Day, thousands of gas stations across the country could be charging less than $3 per gallon, according to a GasBuddy report.

Read MoreLabor Day gas prices cheapest since 2010

Californians might not end up quite as flush with extra cash—partly because the state does not have much of an infrastructure for transporting crude oil from shale deposits to local refineries, Kloza said. While New England and much of the Northeast do pull a lot of crude from deposits in North Dakota, those states may feel the costs of scheduled maintenance on refineries in the Canadian maritime provinces.

—By CNBC.com's John W. Schoen and Robert Ferris

Contact Oil and Gas

  • CNBC NEWSLETTERS

    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More*