Metro Atlanta drivers hitting the road this week face the highest July 4 gasoline prices in four years, higher prices that are like an added tax on household finances.
A gallon of regular on Tuesday was averaging $2.75 in metro Atlanta, compared to $2.10 a gallon on Independence Day a year ago, according to Gas Buddy.
And while the prices at the pump in Georgia are is far below the national average, most neighboring states are cheaper still.
“There’s something of a discount in the Southeast for the state supplied directly from (refineries on) the Gulf Coast, but no one has been unscathed by the higher prices,” said Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst for Gas Buddy.
Prices have not been higher on a July 4 since 2014 when Atlanta averaged $3.65 a gallon for gas.
The current price had been rising through the spring, and have now come down from an average of $2.90 a gallon on Memorial Day. However, prices have edged up the past several days and that trajectory is likely to continue, he said. “there are additional price increases coming.”
Inventories of gasoline are low and demand is high. Moreover, there have been political problems in Venezuela and Libya that have undermined production and an American pressure campaign aimed at restricting Iranian oil’s access to the global market.
“Motorists may see the national gas prices average to potentially jump back up to nearly $3/gallon in coming months,” she said.
But cost-conscious drivers heading north or west from Georgia might consider delaying a fill-up until they cross state lines. Average state prices among Georgia’s neighbors:
— Alabama: $2.53 per gallon
— South Carolina: $2.53 per gallon
— Tennessee: $2.60 per gallon
— North Carolina: $2.67 per gallon
Only Florida has higher prices than Georgia in the Southeast, according to AAA: $2.73 per gallon.
The highest price ever on a July 4 was in 2008, the summer that global oil prices hit an all-time high. That summer, Atlanta gas prices climbed above $4 a gallon as the holiday started.
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