Gas prices are expected to be at a 12-year low this summer, prompting more vacation travel by car, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and GasBuddy.com.
This year’s summer travel season, gas prices are projected to average $2.27 per gallon, 36 cents less than last summer’s average, according to the EIA, an energy statistical research firm.
The EIA forecasted gas prices to average $2.13 per gallon this year and $2.27 next year. Those prices compare with $2.43 per gallon last year and $3.36 in 2014.
“The low gas prices serve as a catalyst for leisure travel,” said Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. The Department of Energy reports consumption is up 3 percent, he said, adding, “that’s one of the reasons crude oil prices are going up.”
Motorists will save $700 this year if buying the same amount of gas they did last year, he added.
He warned drivers of the perceptions saving a lot of money because of lower-priced gas.
“With low prices, people are inclined to travel more. With lower prices, it may lead to more spending on discretionary purchases. The perception of savings may lead to what consumer advocates refer to as wasteful spending,” Laskoski said.
Global oil supply is projected to exceed consumption this year, keeping gas prices low compared with previous years, the EIA reported.
The production of crude oil in the United States averaged 9.4 million gallons per day last year. This year, the projection is expected to average 8.6 million gallons per day and 8.2 million next year.
The price for Brent crude oil is expected to average $35 per barrel this summer, $21 per barrel less than last summer, according to the EIA.