|LAS VEGAS, Nev. April 02, 2018 – It’s no April Fool’s joke. On Monday, Nevada’s average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline touched $3 for the first time since September 2015. Both Washoe County and Clark County were paying more than $3 after the weekend’s price increase.
With summer travel season almost here, AAA believes prices will continue to rise as we approach Memorial Day on May 28. Peak prices will likely be between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the final holiday weekend of summer, according to AAA.
"It’s likely that Nevadans could be paying more than $3 at the pump for much of summer," said Michael Blasky, spokesman for AAA Nevada. "More people are driving for work, taking vacations and spending money on travel. That’s a good sign for the economy, but strong demand will drive up gasoline prices."
Nevada prices jumped 8 cents in just a week as U.S. refineries continue to undergo routine spring maintenance. This is the season when refineries switch from producing their winter blend of gasoline and begin selling the summer blend, which is more refined and better for the environment, but also more expensive.
Gasoline prices are also being driven by higher oil prices. Crude oil was selling for about $65 a barrel on Monday. Oil prices have been steadily rising since last summer, when oil was trading for about $40 a barrel. As oil prices rise, gasoline prices typically rise as well.
Nevada’s prices are also being driven by heavy travel demand and a stronger economy bringing more people to Southern Nevada. Clark County added more than 47,000 residents in 2017, with only Maricopa County in Arizona adding more people.
In 2015, the price spike above $3 in Nevada was largely due to an explosion at Exxon Mobil’s refinery in Los Angeles, which drove prices in Las Vegas from $2.20 in February to more than $3.20 by May 2015.
"Nevada has almost zero oil refineries, sourcing most of its gasoline from California refineries," said Blasky. "Because of that, Nevada is very dependent on the performance of those refineries in California. Any major unexpected shutdown will likely cause prices to spike even further."
AAA Gas Price Report
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report is the most comprehensive retail gasoline survey available, with over 100,000 self-serve stations surveyed every day, nationwide. Data is provided in cooperation with OPIS Energy Group and Wright Express, LLC.
AAA Nevada offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to its members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 117 years ago.