Gas prices in the Texoma region are up another eight cents this week, AAA Texas announced in its Weekend Gas Watch. That marks three straight weeks of increases after deep declines stemming from the oil and gas industry slowdown and a dropoff in demand as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses.

Sherman-Denison drivers are paying an average of $1.49 for a gallon of unleaded fuel, the travel agency announced Thursday, May 21. That’s up from $1.41 on average last week but remains over a dollar lower than the $2.53 average the area saw at this same time last year.

Statewide, prices are averaging $1.60 per gallon, or six cents more than on the same day last week and 97 cents less per gallon compared to the same day last year.

Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in Midland are paying the most on average at $1.76 while drivers in Tyler are paying the least at $1.48 per gallon.

As the Memorial Day Holiday weekend approaches, gas prices are on the rise; however, historical AAA gas price data shows drivers are filling up with the cheapest gas for this holiday weekend in almost two decades.

The statewide average on Memorial Day in 2003 was $1.39 for a gallon of regular unleaded. This season’s price drop to multi-year lows is due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on gasoline and crude oil demand as many continue to stay home.

Because of that, for the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to the pandemic’s impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast.

“Even with a holiday weekend just ahead, COVID-19 continues to create demand destruction around the state and country,” AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster said in a press release. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“Drivers can expect pump prices to push slightly higher in the days ahead due to rising gasoline demand as some states are lifting stay-at-home restrictions and crude oil prices increase,” he added

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline will come to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels.

Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of the coronavirus on demand and crude oil prices.

Prices were up to date at press time Thursday using market prices posted at 3:41 a.m.

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