Business & Real Estate

Road trips are up, but gas prices continue to fall

Sacramento-area gas prices fell another 6 cents a gallon over the past week.

The average retail price of gas in the area now stands at $2.57, according to Monday’s weekly report by national gas price tracker

That’s 16.6 cents lower than last month and about 78 cents below the year-ago level.

Nationally, the average price dropped 2 cents last week to $2.13 a gallon, down 14.6 cents from last month and 52.7 cents below the average price at this time last year.

Despite reports by state agencies and AAA that increasing numbers of consumers are traveling by car this summer, gas prices have been falling amid relatively low crude oil prices and ample supplies of fuel.

“As prices continue to fall in the heart of summer, motorists have been able to take advantage of the cheapest summer prices in over a decade,” said Will Speer, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Demand for gasoline continues to surge as low prices have spurred more road trips and have swayed consumer vehicle purchasing habits.

“But despite high demand for gasoline, prices have continued to fall amidst an oversupply of gasoline across the country.”

Speer said U.S. gasoline inventories are up 12 percent compared with this time last year.

Speer expects the trend to continue, with the additional consumer bonus of a “seasonal downturn in gasoline demand is on the horizon after Labor Day.”

Historically, gas prices decline after Labor Day, with the conclusion of the summer vacation season and refineries ramping up to produce cheaper fall-winter blends of gasoline.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover