WASHINGTON – U.S. gasoline prices fell for the sixth week in a row, but drivers will still pay the highest pump costs on record heading into any Memorial Day (search) holiday weekend, the government said on Monday.
The national price for regular unleaded gasoline declined 3.8 cents over the past week to $2.13 a gallon, up 6 cents from a year ago, according to a weekly survey of service stations by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (search).
While pump prices are at a record for the holiday, high fuel costs are not cutting into vacation plans.
The AAA motorists club (search) said it expects a record 31.1 million Americans will travel by car 50 miles or more from home this holiday weekend — the traditional start of the busy summer vacation season — up 2.2 percent from last year.
A family traveling 1,000 miles in a minivan will have to pay an extra $30 for fuel this weekend compared with two years ago, when gasoline averaged $1.50 a gallon, said AAA spokesman Mantill Williams.
"That's not a (vacation) deal-breaker for most people," he said.
Weekly gasoline prices are falling because of growing U.S. petroleum inventories that are near a six-year high and declining crude oil costs.
In the weekly EIA survey, the West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the price down 3.8 cents to $2.40 a gallon. San Francisco topped the EIA's survey of cities, with the price of gasoline down 5.8 cents at $2.51 a gallon.
The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest fuel, with the price down 4.1 cents at $2.02 per gallon. Among major cities, Houston had the cheapest pump price, with fuel down 4.2 cents at $1.98 a gallon.
Separately, the price for diesel fuel dropped 3.3 cents to $2.16 a gallon, the lowest level since late February but up 40 cents from last year, the EIA said.
Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel at $2.34 a gallon, down 5.8 cents from last week. The Midwest states had the cheapest diesel at $2.10 a gallon, down 3.2 cents.