What will summer bring for gas prices in Texas?

Texas is currently one of four states where the price of gas averages under $3 per gallon. That means Texans can enjoy some of the lowest prices at the pump in the U.S. The official start of summer – peak travel season – is just a few weeks away, and many will soon be spending even more on transportation as they plan summer travel. Here's what Texans should know when it arrives:

What determines the prices? (It's complicated)

Summer is typically the busiest time of year for travel in the U.S., which means vacationers use a lot of gas. While rising demand is one factor in higher gas prices, it's far from the only one.

When oil refineries perform maintenance has a huge impact on pricing, because during maintenance, capacity is reduced – which is an even bigger problem when it happens at the same time as the switch to summer gasoline.

“This will lead to a significant reduction in the amount of gasoline produced in the summer, while refineries will have less capacity due to maintenance work,” says Patrick De Haan of the fuel price tracking service GasBuddy.

This typically results in prices peaking in April or May, although this varies by region.

Gasoline prices are rising a little faster than usual, but don't worry, experts say

Summer gasoline, which is formulated to prevent excessive evaporation in warmer temperatures, is more expensive to produce. There are also more types of summer gasoline than winter gasoline because requirements vary from state to state and region to region.

Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the most smog-prone regions in the country that must use reformulated gasoline that burns cleaner than conventional gasoline.

Particularly warm states like Texas will be able to use summer fuel even after the federal summer gasoline transition ends on Sept. 15, De Haan said, meaning there will be less supply at the end of the season.

It should be noted, however, that consumers get more for their money at the pump during the warmer months because summer blends have lower fuel consumption than winter blends.

The situation should remain stable – if the weather in Texas plays along

In the Dallas metropolitan area, gasoline prices are down five cents from last month. If current trends continue, gasoline prices could drop a little more and likely “feel very similar to last year,” De Haan says. That's assuming there are no refinery closures due to extreme weather events like hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season will be particularly active

Federal meteorologists have predicted up to 25 named storms for the 2024 storm season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

“The hurricane season is expected to be very busy this year. Although the factors usually lead to a peak in the spring, there is a possibility that we could see another increase in that peak later this year, depending on how demand evolves and what happens with the refineries,” De Haan said.

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