Local Gas Prices Hit Above $2 A Gallon Before Memorial Day

By Benjamin Cox on May 20, 2020 at 10:55am

Gas prices continue to increase across the country on an average of four cents. Illinois is the only state in the Midwest whose average has jumped across the $2 per gallon mark.

Jacksonville’s average cost of a gallon of gas rose 3 cents from last week to $1.97 on Tuesday. 11 of 15 stations are reporting that price as a cost of a gallon of gas yesterday. Jacksonville’s price is 5 cents more expensive than Springfield who sits at a $1.92 and nearly a dime higher than the national average of $1.87.

The good news is that the last time national gas prices averaging less than $2 a gallon heading into the Memorial Day weekend was 17 years ago in 2003. That year, motorists paid on average $1.50 per gallon. AAA says that the many motorists who normally take advantage of the holiday won’t be on the roads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AAA is expecting record low travel and will not, for the first time in 20 years, issue a travel forecast.

AAA expects that despite the record low travel that the country can expect to see gas prices push more expensive going over $2 per gallon in the next few weeks. This is mostly due to increased demand as more states re-open. This week will also bring an end to the EPA’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline and stations will switch over to summer-blend to prevent evaporation during warm temperatures.

The Energy Information Administration reports that regional gasoline stocks have decreased for six straight weeks, bringing stocks down to 54 million barrels, which is still above the stock level a year ago and the five year average. Crude oil prices rebounded to above $32 a barrel this morning as OPEC and other countries remain under production reduction, which could factor into gas prices later on this year as countries try to re-balance the market as demand remains lower than normal.