Tampa Bay drivers are paying less for gas
Whether you're just headed to the beach or going on a weekend getaway, expect a lot of traffic this Memorial Day weekend.
Why it matters: Travel for the long weekend is expected to hit new highs. AAA estimates that 42.3 million Americans will travel during the holiday weekend — a 7% increase over last year, writes Axios' Sareen Habeshian.
- Florida is also forecast to see record travel. Nearly 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel at least 50 miles for the holiday weekend — about 96,000 more travelers than in 2019, per AAA.
The intrigue: Gas is more than a dollar per gallon cheaper here than it was last year.
- Tampa Bay drivers were paying an average of $3.50 per gallon of regular gasoline as of May 1, compared to $4.54 a year ago.
The big picture: Gas prices set record all-time highs last year amid a broader inflation crisis, driven in part by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which destabilized global energy markets.
State of play: Nationally, gas prices are rising slightly compared to previous months — but they're still well below last year's levels as we head into Memorial Day weekend and the travel-heavy summer season.
- The nationwide average price per gallon of regular gasoline has been $3.53 throughout this May, compared to $4.60 a year ago.
- Prices are still well above pre- and mid-pandemic levels.
What they're saying: "Despite mild weather and a less volatile economic forecast, drivers are not hitting the road and raising gasoline demand to traditional seasonal levels," said AAA spokesperson Andrew Gross in a statement.
Between the lines: The Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency waiver last month allowing the summertime sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol in a bid to suppress prices.
- So-called E15 gas is typically avoided in summer due to smog concerns.
Be smart: Friday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads during the long weekend, according to INRIX, which provides transportation data and insights.
- The best times to travel by car are in the morning or in the evening after 6pm, per INRIX.
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