WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- U.S. drivers are paying an average $3.67 for a gallon of gasoline ahead of Memorial Day, the start of summer driving season, the Energy Department said Friday.
Memorial Day, May 26, is considered the start of the summer driving season. After an increase of 42 cents per gallon from early February to late April, the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said prices are relatively static year-on-year.
"Leading up to this year's holiday, the national average retail price for regular gasoline is $3.67 per gallon, as it was this time last year," EIA said in a report Friday.
EIA said the retail price for a gallon of gasoline is largely based on the price of crude oil and the difference between that price and the price for wholesale gasoline.
EIA said the price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline peaked at $3.71 for the last week of April. The national average of $3.29 for the first week of February was the lowest for the year.
The regional average of $3.44 for the week of May 19 was the lowest for Gulf Coast communities because that area is home to half of the U.S. refining capacity and demand there is low. California had the highest price for the Lower 48 with $4.16 because of what EIA said were "stringent gasoline specifications."
In its market report for May, EIA said gasoline prices should fall from their current level to around $3.51 per gallon by September.