Summer road trips might not cost you nearly as much as they did last year

If you are heading out for a summer road trip, you probably won’t pay nearly as much for gas as you did last year.

On Monday, the average gas price per gallon for the D.C. region was around $3.57 per gallon — 85 cents less than the same time in 2022.

Gas prices are typically at their peak in May and especially around the Memorial Day weekend, because summer travel demand increases as the refinery industry transitions to a more expensive summer blend.

But it is quite possible that the “summer season” has already peaked.

“The price of oil has fallen dramatically here in the last couple of weeks, from $83 a barrel back down to about $76. The transition to summer gasoline is behind us. The average gas price in the D.C. metro area have fallen about three cents a gallon in the last week,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, told WTOP.

“While I’m optimistic that this year holds to the tradition that we have seen a peak in late spring, there certainly could be extenuating circumstances that cause prices to go up again down the road,” continued De Haan, referring to refinery troubles or even a troublesome hurricane season.

If you are looking to take a road trip and do not have a fixed schedule, you may save more money by delaying it further into the summer.

“Prices tend to be the lowest during Labor Day weekend, because supply of summer gasoline increases over the duration of the summer and July 4 tends to be in between that and Memorial Day,” said De Haan.

If you are taking a summer road trip, there are a few ways to save, such as paying in cash rather than credit cards, shopping around ahead of time on apps, such as Google Maps or Gas Buddy, or signing up for a gas station rewards program.

“Motorists can almost always come out paying far less than retail price,” concluded De Haan.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2023 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

Federal News Network Logo

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up