As Americans prepare for their July 4 travel plans, gasoline prices are holding near levels we haven't seen since that nasty summer at the pump back in 2008. But relief may be coming as the situation in Iraq cools slightly, and refineries boost production to take advantage of the higher prices.
The national average this morning seems like it's almost out of steam, having risen almost daily since news of Iraq hit papers on June 10. It currently stands at a 2014 high water mark- some $3.69/gallon- and while relief isn't going to be fast, we will likely see a slight decrease emerge over the next week or two (provided there are no major influencing events- such as a hurricane or refinery problem.
By July 4, we expect the national average to be near $3.70/gallon, but then expect to see a gradual decrease to begin, and it could mean the national average drops to $3.65 in two weeks.
The pain at the pump for the holiday weekend will easily be worst along the West Coast, where refinery problems have led to tight supply of gasoline. California's average is holding near $4.12/gallon this morning, the highest in the continental U.S., followed by Washington at $4.00/gallon, Connecticut at $3.98/gallon, and Oregon at $3.95/gallon.
On the bottom side, motorists will be paying the least in South Carolina, where prices are holding near $3.38/gal. Alabama and Mississippi sit at $3.43/gal, and Arkansas and Tennessee hold at $3.45/gal.
For those traveling, remember to shop for the cheapest gas using the free GasBuddy smartphone app, available for iPhone, Android, Windows, and Blackberry phones. For those who have mobile internet, they can also head to m.gasbuddy.com for cheap gas prices. Happy July 4!