Gas prices make Southeast the place to be this summer

Travellers planning a road trip this summer may not want to travel outside of the Southeast.

Gas prices in southeastern states have been about 10 to 15 cents lower than the national average this summer — an unusual trend, said AAA Southeast spokeswoman Jessica Brady.

“Gas prices in the Southeast are usually in the mid-range,” she said. “Currently, they are lower than the middle range average.”

Georgia’s average regular gas price stood at $3.402 on Thursday, while the national average was $3.528, according to AAA’s website. Florida’s price also was below the national average, at $3.483.

Tennessee’s average was more than 20 cents below the national average at $3.307.

Brady said gas prices are lower in the Southeast because refineries in the Gulf of Mexico have been doing well. She said many states in the Northeast also will have prices below the national average, but cautioned that refineries in other regions of the United States have not been so lucky.

Michigan’s average regular gas price was 5 cents above the national average on Thursday because of refinery problems in that region.

“You’ll be paying much higher [gas] prices in the Midwest,” she said. “It’s best to stay in the Southeast if you’re driving.”

Brady said not to expect a cheap road trip all the way out west this summer, either. California and Washington had refinery issues like those in the Midwest that led to higher gas prices. Washington’s average regular gas price was 28 cents above the national average on Thursday.

Summer gas prices are up 20 cents from last summer over most of the United States, but Brady said that shouldn’t scare the more than 960,000 Georgians planning road trips over the Independence Day weekend. Brady said gas prices in the Southeast should stay pretty steady for the upcoming holiday.

“I don’t think we are going to see any major [gas price] spikes over the Fourth of July weekend,” Brady said.

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