A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky gas prices jump 8 cents ahead of July 4 holiday; rising crude oil prices among factors

After weeks of steady declines at the pump, gas prices are starting to increase across the country. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is now 6 cents higher than a week ago, landing at $2.72.

In Kentucky, a gallon of regular unleaded is averaging 8 cents higher than a week ago, landing at $2.58 just as motorists gear up for Independence Day holiday travel. Despite the recent increases, both Kentucky and the nation as a whole are seeing gas prices lower than during Independence Day 2018. Kentucky’s average is 17 cents less while the national average is down 13 cents from last year.

“The more than 41 million motorists hitting the road this week to celebrate Independence Day will find gas prices cheaper than Memorial Day, but more expensive than they’ve been paying the last few weeks,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, the manager of public and government affairs at AAA Bluegrass. “It’s typical to see increases at the pump ahead of the holiday, but we may see prices continue to climb throughout the month.”

A number of factors pushing gas prices higher

Rising crude oil prices, strong demand, holiday travel and the announced closure of the largest refinery on the East Coast are all likely contributing to the recent rise at the pump. The refinery announcement came following a fire and explosion at the facility, which had been producing 335,000 barrels of crude per day.

Today’s national average of $2.72 is still 10 cents less than a month ago, while the average price for a gallon of unleaded in Kentucky is 7 cents less than this time last month.

Fuel-saving tips from AAA

AAA provides motorists some simple tips for improving fuel economy and stretching a tank of gas farther between fill-ups:

• Observe the speed limit. Not only is it safer, it can help you save money.

• Pack lighter. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.

• Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.

• Drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.

• Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.

AAA members can also find additional savings by signing up for the Fuel Rewards Program. Members can sign up for free and save five cents per gallon at participating Shell stations. In addition, members can sign up now until Aug. 31 and save 15-cents per gallon on the first three fill-ups at Shell.

Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

From AAA Bluegrass

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