Gas prices in Vernon Hills, Ill., earlier this month. (AP)
Gas prices have been climbing all year, and Americans preparing to head out onto the highway for the coming Fourth of July holiday weekend should expect to pay nearly $1 a gallon more for gasoline than they did last year. According to AAA, the national average for regular at this writing is $3.11, with premium averaging $3.73. That regular gas figure is the highest price for the Independence Day holiday weekend since 2014's $3.66 per gallon. Last year, motorists paid $2.17 per gallon on average for regular.
Of course, last year, coronavirus was raging, and all kinds of public restrictions were in place, greatly depressing gasoline demand. This year, with vaccines widely available, many restrictions have eased, and Americans are traveling again. AAA predicts a record 43.6 million of us will be on the road this holiday weekend, which kicks off tomorrow, July 1.
As ever, fuel prices vary widely by state and by region. The average tops $4 per gallon in two states. California has the highest statewide average at $4.28 with Hawaii in second place at $4.01. The cheapest states for filling up are Mississippi at $2.74 per gallon and Louisiana at $2.75.