Gasoline prices have dropped more than 40-cents a gallon in Iowa over the past month, but it’s not expected to translate to an uptick in travel over the upcoming July 4th holiday. Gail Weinholzer, at Triple-A-Iowa, says the national travel forecast predicts a drop of about one-percent from Independence Day last year.
“We attribute the drop primarily to the fact the holiday is on a Thursday this year instead of Wednesday,” Weinholzer says. “Last year, when it was on a Wednesday, people tended to take the whole week and when you take the whole week, you tend to travel farther or make bigger plans, but when it’s on a Thursday, people tend to just take Friday and make a long weekend of it.”
For the past few months, Iowa has seen gasoline prices well above the national average, as two oil refineries that supplied the Midwest region had to be shut down, temporarily, for repairs.
“Mercifully, most of those oil refineries that were causing prices to rise have come back online and as a result, supply has been reinvigorated at those refineries and prices have started to decline substantially,” Weinholzer says. “Most of our area is back right around the national average.” As for the summer vacation season, she’s predicting gas prices should stay generally where they are now, barring any disasters.
“The start of the summer season in the Midwest brings wonderful weather but on the Gulf Coast, it bring hurricanes,” Weinholzer says. “As a result, we’re expecting moderate prices for fuel with the caveat that there be no significant hurricane in the Gulf Coast region.”
The national average price for gas is $3.59 a gallon, while Iowa’s average is slightly higher at $3.61. A month ago, the statewide average was $4.02.