Memorial Day drivers face relief at the gas pump

The national average of a gallon of regular gasoline is more than a dollar cheaper than a year ago

Drivers are getting a reprieve at the pump over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Although prices edged a bit higher over the past week, they are still more than a dollar less than what motorists were shelling out a year ago, according to AAA. 

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose three cents to $3.57 on Friday, which is the unofficial start to the summer travel season and the three-day holiday weekend. This time last year, the national average sat at $4.60. By June, prices shot up to a record of just over $5 per gallon. 

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gas prices

Gas prices on a sign at a Shell gas station in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.  ( David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross attributed the slight uptick in prices to the rise in demand for gas. 

However, "the increase is mitigated by the low cost of oil, which is wobbling around in the low $70s per barrel." 

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Memorial day traffic

Vehicles drive on the Capital Beltway, Interstate 495 ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, May 27, 2022, in McLean, Virginia.  (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images / Getty Images)

It comes at a time when a surge of people, over 42 million, are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home over the holiday. That's a 7% increase from 2022, which the automobile club said is "a sign of what’s to come in the months ahead." 

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Over 37 million Americans are expected to drive, up 6% from last year but still shy of pre-pandemic figures, according to AAA. 

Gross projected that pump prices could stabilize or even fall after the long weekend wraps up.