The summer driving season is typically defined as the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This year, the summer season has been a bit different due to COVID, and while many Americans who would have traveled outside the United States have opted to stay domestic, overall driving is down. With fewer people driving to work and driving around in general, gas prices have been pushed down to extremely low levels relative to recent history.
The table below shows the historical price of the national average price for a gallon of gas based on AAA data. At the current national average of $2.19, a gallon of gas hasn’t been this cheap at this time of year since at least 2005. While prices were up on a YTD basis every year from 2005 through 2019 by an average of 18.3%, this year the national average price is down over 15%.
The chart to the right of the table below compares gasoline prices this year (red line) to a composite of gas prices during the ‘average’ year (blue line). So far this year, the pattern of prices is nearly the exact opposite of the average year. While prices tend to rise through the first five months of the year, this year they trended lower, bottoming right in late April. After a decent increase in prices from May through early June, prices have completely flat-lined in the last two months.
While it’s not uncommon for prices to remain steady throughout the summer months, the current flat-lining of prices has been nearly without precedent. The chart below shows the rolling two-month (60 calendar days) high low range of the national average price of gasoline since early 2004. With the current two-month range spanning $2.174 to $2.201, or 1.24%, the only other time the range was narrower was in late June/early July 2014. Throughout the last fifteen years, there has never been a time where gas prices have been this low at this time of year or this stable. Click here to view Bespoke’s premium membership options for full access to our research and interactive tools.