Analyst: Gas prices should plateau or decrease through the rest of the year

Gas prices are currently down compared to the same time last year, and experts predict they will likely continue to plateau through the rest of the year.

The current national average for a gallon of regular gas is about $3.40, according to AAA.

Last year around this time, the average was nearly $3.60 a gallon.

David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance, a national trade association that focuses on gas prices and energy policy, said the national gas inventory is relatively high.

“Through the rest of the summer, prices could trickle down just a little bit,” Holt said. “Once you get into fall and winter, you could continue to see gasoline prices go down a little bit more.”

In the District, according to AAA, the current average for a gallon of regular gas is $3.60, compared to $3.70 a year ago.

Virginia has an average of $3.30 a gallon, which is exactly where it was at this time last year. Maryland’s average sits at $3.50 a gallon, which is up slightly compared to the state’s average of $3.45 a year ago.

“Folks aren’t driving as much as we expected them to drive, so that reduced demand this summer means we’ve seen prices come down a little bit,” Holt said.

Holt put much of the blame on inflation.

“The cumulative impact of inflation is adding up, and we are seeing some changed habits that maybe we didn’t expect we’d see,” Holt said. “I think that when you look at inflation and the impact it’s having on the average family, it’s removing some disposable income they otherwise would have.”

Despite that, people have been taking more vacations in record numbers this year.

Airlines nationwide expect to carry a record number of passengers this summer. Their trade group estimates that 271 million travelers will fly between June 1 and Aug. 31, breaking the record of 255 million set last summer.

A record was recently broken ahead of Memorial Day weekend for the overall number of airline travelers.

More than 2.9 million travelers were screened at airports on the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend, surpassing a previous record set last year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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