Calendar Year 2017 is definitely proving itself to be different for gas prices. Today’s average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. is $2.429. Over the course of the past seven (7) days, gas prices have ticked up 8.2 cents (Source: GasBuddy.com):
$2.404 – Yesterday
$2.347 – Week Ago
$2.314 – Month Ago
$2.221 – One Year Ago
Normally, I’d posture that Labor Day Weekend 2017 is almost upon us and motorists might expect to see gasoline prices rise a few cents as more folks begin filling their tanks in anticipation of hitting the road early Thursday or Friday. However, that was before Hurricane Harvey blew into the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Harvey began pummeling the State of Texas’ coast on Saturday morning, August 26, 2017, around 3 a.m. Although Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, it’s slow churning movement in the Houston Regional Area has resulted in unprecedented flooding for the city and surrounding areas. If you are familiar with the Gulf Coast Region, you know that it is home to a number of refineries, oil rigs, and off-shore platforms. The oil and gas industry employs a significant number of persons in this region.
Several news sources are reporting that Hurricane Harvey shutdown about 15% of the nation’s oil refining capacity. While Harvey’s winds are now blowing in Louisiana as a tropical storm, refiners and others in business are assessing the damage that was left behind to determine if and when they can resume operating. Taking refineries off-line for more than a day or two has the State of Texas asking if they should prepare an emergency gas rationing plan.
While I am not predicting pain at the pump this Labor Day Weekend, it appears that Americans are currently paying about 20 cents more per gallon than one year ago. That will add about $3 more to each fill-up of a 15-gallon gas tank. The reality is that gas prices could rise another 5 or 10 cents between now and Labor Day, September 4, 2017. Therefore, if you are planning a road trip for this coming holiday weekend, please know that gas prices are still below their all time high of $4.11 set on July 2008. And while, it will cost more to fill up your tank than last year, I doubt that most folks will cancel their late-summer road trips that have already been planned, and that everyone is looking forward to.
Whatever you do, drive safely. ValuePenguin.com, a personal finance website that conducts in-depth research and analysis on a variety of topics from insurance, to credit cards, to everyday spending, reports that between 2011 and 2015, the average number of fatal accidents per day was 83.91. Labor Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends, ranked as one of the riskiest times of the year to get into a fatal accident.
In assessing driving risks, the personal finance website compared traffic fatalities over all the major holidays using statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Memorial Day led with an average of 312 fatal accidents per year over the period 2011 to 2015. The other big summer holidays were not far behind, however. Labor Day averaged 308 fatalities and the Fourth of July, 307.
Until my next post, stay safe and happy motoring!