MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Gasoline prices should stay in a fairly narrow range this summer, putting less strain on family budgets for summer driving trips and commutes to work.
The national average for a gallon of unleaded regular was $2.715 Monday, according to AAA. That is down almost a penny from last week and 17.8 cents higher than last year.
In its weekly report on pump prices released Monday, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said the national average for retail gasoline was $2.718 for a gallon of regular. California drivers paid the most, at $3.11 a gallon, while motorists in Gulf Coast states paid the least, at an average of $2.56 a gallon.
Analysts do not expect a big change in pump prices in the next four to six weeks unless an unexpected event occurs, such as a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, that could deplete supplies, or cause a jump in oil prices.
Most analysts say demand this summer is moderate at best, given ample gasoline supplies and reticent consumers who are curbing their spending because of jobs concerns and the pace of the economy's recovery.
Sandra Horton with AAA Carolinas said she experienced first-hand during a recent vacation how fewer people are hitting the roads.
She said financial troubles overseas are also strengthening the US dollar and lowering prices at the pump in the United States
"With the European financial crisis, I think our US dollars, being so strong, we are seeing the price per barrel staying steady," commented Horton.
The average price of gasoline in Myrtle Beach is lower than the national average.