Road tripping to be easier this summer with lower gas prices

Fill your tank, cut down a redwood and kick a polar bear in the ‘nads … gas is likely to stay cheap this summer! So, let the environment be damned, load up the Hummer and take the longest road trip of your life.

The Energy Information Administration has great news for motorists: gas is expected to hang around an average of $2.23 a gallon this summer (more if you live in New York or California, I imagine). Peak driving season – late in the summer – could see a rise to more than $2.30, but it’s still a far cry from last summer’s insanity … when the average gallon would set you back $3.81.

What’s behind this embarrassment of fossil fuel riches? A barrel of crude is likely to cost about a third of what it did last summer ($53 versus $147), and U.S. crude oil production is supposed to come back up – by 440,000 barrels a day.

But, it pays to have a backup plan. Howard Gruenspecht, acting administrator of the EIA, concedes that an early broader economic recovery could lead to more pain at the pump, though you’d probably be able to afford it.

An EIA spokesman was on hand to confirm, “We’re not in the crystal ball business.” If they were, they probably wouldn’t be talking about fuel prices anyway.

Are Gas Prices Really Dropping?

You’ve heard the rumors. Gas prices appear to be on the way down. It’s hard to come to that conclusion when you’re still paying more than $3.50 per gallon and fondly remembering all those misspent $1.50 gallons of your youth.

But it’s true. Gas prices are indeed heading downward ever so slowly. The buck-fifty days are gone forever unless you have a VW that can run on vegetable oil. But CNN recently reported that a survey of credit card use at pumps around the nation revealed an 8 day slide in gas prices. The current average is $3.65. New Jersey had the cheapest prices at $3.43.

The easing of pain at the pump is mainly because crude oil prices have dropped significantly over the past month. Now analysts are talking about when they will hit $100 per barrel instead of when they will rise above $150. The reason for the drop? Worries about a lack of demand and the relatively calm hurricane season. So if you are looking to hit the road this fall, you might be spared from the $4 per gallon price tag.