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Gas prices to remain highest in past 4 years for Labor Day Weekend: Here’s why

Gas prices likely will decline leading up to Labor Day next week but they’ll remain near recent highs for the end of summer holiday.

Ohio’s average gas price was $2.81 a gallon at the end of last week and could drop a penny or two a day over the next week, said Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst for the website GasBuddy.

“Motorists can expect some more relief, though not enough I’m sure,” DeHaan said. “We’ll start to see prices tip-toe down slowly.”

Even if the price declines by a few cents, Ohio’s average price per gallon could still be higher than it’s been for the long weekend in four years, according to the United States Energy Information Administration.

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During Labor Day week in 2017, gas prices topped out at $2.39 a gallon, a full 42 cents lower than Ohio’s current average price for gas.

Labor Day week gas prices clocked in at the highest in the past 18 years in 2014 when Ohio’s average price per gallon was recorded at $3.42. The lowest recorded gas price since 2005 in Ohio during Labor Day week came just two years ago when the price per gallon was recorded at $2.23.

Though DeHaan predicts prices will slowly fall, there’s still a chance the cost could jump for Labor Day if the price of oil dramatically increases this week, he said. The price of oil is definitely “something to keep an eye on,” DeHaan said, because if it climbs, drivers can expect to pay more at the pump starting on Thursday or Friday just as they head into the long weekend.

Ohio’s current average gas price of $2.81 hovers right around the national average for the past 18 months, according to GasBuddy. Prices are the highest in California, where they’ve inched up to nearly $3.60 per gallon, and are the cheapest in the southeastern U.S., where prices have hovered around $2.50.

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AAA recommends drivers plan ahead by looking up the prices of gas at local stations online or through ads or by phone. Though temperatures could still be a little higher as summer wraps up this weekend, drivers should use air conditioning conservatively or switch their vehicle to an economy setting so that they don’t burn up their fuel as quickly, according to AAA.

Ohioans should be able to avoid prices jumping to $3 a gallon or more in most parts of the state, DeHaan said. The average price of gas this summer in Dayton topped out at $2.99 in May, according to GasBuddy.

Once summer is over the demand for gas tends to settle down, meaning prices will likely drop again the closer fall gets. Fluctuations in gas prices are often tied to the seasons, DeHaan said, with them typically bottoming out around Thanksgiving.

“We may get back into the mid $2s,” he said. “The trend for the next few months should be down but we’re not going back to $1.99 gas anytime too soon.”

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