Among the "new" things that Americans will notice during this year's post-Covid Memorial Day will be skyrocketing prices at the pump.
Drivers are in store for the highest prices in seven years this summer, Reuters writes this week, as retail gas prices are the most expensive since 2014 at about $3.04 per gallon.
And those prices have nowhere to go but up, as a year's worth of pent up demand for leisure activities, vacation and summer sun come to fruition over the next three or four months. This could drive up prices even further during peak travel weeks during the summer.
"More than 34 million Americans are expected to take to the highways between May 27 and May 31," AAA predicted, marking a 53% rise from last year.
Devin Gladden, AAA spokesperson, told Reuters: “Ahead of Memorial Day, gas demand is expected to rise as more Americans take to the roads for trips that may have been delayed or avoided because of the pandemic.”
Current gasoline demand is about 9.48 million barrels per day, the highest it has been since March 2020.
Former President Trump opined on the situation: (emphasis ours)
With Memorial Day Weekend coming up, tomorrow people start driving in the biggest automobile days of the year.
I’m sorry to say the gasoline prices that you will be confronted with are far higher than they were just a short number of months ago where we had gasoline under $2 a gallon.
Remember as you’re watching the meter tick, and your dollars pile up, how great of a job Donald Trump did as President.
Soon Russia and the Middle East will be making a fortune on oil, and you will be saying how good it was to have me as your President.
Wasn’t it great to be energy independent, but we are energy independent no more.
Shame, shame, shame.
Other than that, have a great Memorial Day Weekend!
GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan noted that about 6,000 gas stations were still without fuel this week due to the Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this month. That shortage, and the ensuing demand surge to "stock up" on gas helped keep a bid under gas prices.
Recall, this was the scene earlier this month was long lines at the pump in places like Nashville...
And in North Carolina: "The line goes out of the gas station's parking lot," said one Twitter user in Carrboro.
And in North Atlanta, where there were long lines at a Costco.
And in Florida, where there was massive lines at another Costco in Tallahassee.
A Costco employee just told a car trying to get in line “you’ll have to find the end of the line. I don’t know where that is.” pic.twitter.com/o7f2bm7668— Alicia Devine, Photojournalist (@alicia_c_devine) May 11, 2021
While things aren't quite as chaotic heading into the end of May, there is some residual demand pressure that will continue into the Memorial Day holiday, making it likely that prices will only move one direction - up - as the country continues its re-open and Americans hit the road (or the skies) for their summer vacation staples.
“This is still due to the Colonial outage recovery, plus high demand, making it hard for stations to get back on top of things,” De Haan concluded.