Hurricane Isaac Could Increase Labor Day Gas Prices

If you're traveling Labor Day Weekend or driving to college, here's what AAA says about gas prices.

Hurricane Isaac, which may hit the Gulf Coast late Tuesday or early Wednesday and has already shut down several refineries, could send gas prices up right before Labor Day weekend. But for now, it looks like Americans are still making plans to travel.

The average fuel price in Eldersburg is $3.74 and Westminster is $3.67—nearly 30 cents per gallon more expensive than prices one month ago.

AAA defines the Labor Day holiday weekend as starting on Thursday and ending Monday, Sept. 3. AAA projects that 33 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.

“In the absence of strong economic growth that might fuel a significant boost in travel volume, it is an encouraging sign that Americans continue to prioritize travel,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president of AAA Travel Services. “Travel is still within America’s discretionary budget.”

An estimated 28.2 million travelers—85 percent—will make their Labor Day trip by car. This is a 3.1 percent increase over the 27.3 million people who traveled by automobile during the Labor Day weekend last year.

In April, motorists experienced a year-to-date peak average gas price of $3.94 per gallon for unleaded gasoline. According to AAA, gas prices are not expected to have a major impact on Labor Day weekend travel unless there is a significant unexpected event such as a hurricane. 

However, as the holiday weekend draws near, increased gas prices may cause some travelers to change their plans. 

Gas Prices in Central Maryland and Nearby College Towns

According to AAA, here are the latest prices in college towns in and near central Maryland:

  • University of Maryland College Park - Area Average: $3.77. Last week’s average gas prices for unleaded in College Park, Md., was $3.75 and $3.56 last month.
  • University of Maryland Baltimore County (Catonsville) - Area Average: $3.76. Last week's average gas prices for unleaded in Catonsville, Md., was $3.69 and $3.47 in July.
  • George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) - Area Average: $3.89. Last week, the average in this area of D.C. was $3.92 and $3.71 in July.
  • Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) - Area Average: $3.93. The average last week in this part of D.C. was $4.02 and last month’s average was $3.87.
  • Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.) - Area Average: $3.87. Last week’s average in this area was $3.88 and last month’s average was $3.93.
  • Howard University (Washington, D.C.) - Area Average: $3.90. Last week’s average in this part of D.C. was $3.96 and last month’s average was $3.71.
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville) - Area Average: $3.52. Last week, the average in the Charlottesville area was $3.47, and the average last month was $3.20.

Travelers who own a smart phone can download the free mobile app that provides GPS navigation that helps with mapping a route and finding current gas prices nearby.

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Victor Mann August 29, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Read my lips...:) THERE IS NO GAS SHORTAGE. Did you get that? Good. Now, for the facts. 1. US Oil Proven is at 19.4bbl, the highest weighted average in the history of the US!!!! 2. Even P50s are outrunning all previous averages!!! 3. At 501 West Lake Park Blvd, Houston, TX, there is an interior room...in that room sits daily, a team whose sole job is to figure out by intuitive program feedback criteria, COES (Current/Ongoing Event Status) and a few other elementals, how much they can charge for gas in marked regions all across the US, WITHOUT slowing customer demand!!!! I know this because I have a family member working in that department... So don't freaking report to me about oil shortages!!! Bullsh**! Call it what it is...American capitalism married to the unchecked greed of companies who have lobbied themselves into a protected species, taking advantage of the average American who is under duress due to a tropical hurricane....i.e. the "perfect storm" for gouging decent Americans. Shortage? Give me a break! The rest is speculative, misleading garbage.
Victor Mann August 29, 2012 at 03:47 AM
PS: The authors of this article did a good job reporting the figures. I am not attacking their column, but I get sick and tired of hearing about the "shortage" that is basically a figment of reporting imagination. Kudos to the research of the reporters...D**N the oil bigs who step on hurting Americans to make an extra buck. You day is coming...quite simply because unrestrained greed always overcomes quantitative logic, even in the face of absolute fact. It Texas, we call it shooting one's self in the foot. BP and the other bigs...check your safety...the gun's already pointed at your foot....


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