o close out a summer driving season that will inevitably have had the highest average gas prices since the summer of 2014, Labor Day weekend prices at the pumps across the United States are expected to be the highest in seven years at an average of $3.11 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, a leading fuel savings platform.
In the Kansas City area, the average price for a gallon of gas the past week was $2.74. It’s generally higher than that at most locations in Platte County, with many outlets at $2.89 per gallon as of Tuesday evening.
Gas prices in the KC area are about 15 cents lower than a month ago, but about 66 cents per gallon higher than a year ago.
Though prices have recently begun trending lower, drivers can expect to pay around 90¢ per gallon more than they did on Labor Day, 2020. Last year, the country saw the lowest Labor Day gas prices since 2004, with pandemic lockdowns still in place in some parts of the country.
Prices have been steadily increasing since the beginning of summer 2021, as confidence to travel surged, demand for gasoline soared and Americans hit the road for summer vacations. However, due to the Delta variant sweeping the nation, the return to school and many companies delaying their return to offices, gas prices in recent weeks have begun to drift lower.
“As demand for gasoline has begun to cool with schools reopening and vacation season wrapping up, we’ve seen a small amount of relief at the pump just in time for Labor Day,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“While COVID continues to have a leading role in gasoline demand and companies plan their return to office, prices may be less predictable than normal. However, seasonality will persist, and that means less gasoline demand as we progress through fall and into winter, and cost savings from the switch back to cheaper winter gasoline in mid-September. We should see more relief at the pump coming the deeper into fall we go,” De Haan added.