Labor Day Weekend gas prices analysis

CHICAGO -- For Labor Day weekend, American consumers in 45 states will likely see the highest fuel prices they’ve ever seen at this time of year.

Only motorists in Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming will be spared from record-high prices at the pump.

"Although the end of summer driving season usually sends retail gas prices downward, they’ve got a long way to go before prices fall back to ‘tolerable’. While Tropical Storm Isaac begins to weaken, there's still enough upset motorists to think this was a category five storm," Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst, said.

"The national average is at $3.80 per gallon, 18-cents more than where we were a year ago, and 8 states have an average price today at $4/gal or higher. Gas in New York City is averaging $4.06/gal; Los Angeles is at $4.15/gal, and those are relative bargains compared to the $4.35/gal we’re paying now in Chicago!" DeHaan added.

There’s no question that Hurricane Isaac’s timing and impact made a bad situation worse; forcing Gulf Coast refineries and others in its path to partial or full closures. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that the record highs at the pump are likely to move lower through the weekend.

"Contrary to popular belief that prices always rise during major holiday weekends, analysis of Labor Day weekend prices from 2001 through 2011 shows that the national average price of gas actually declined in 10 of the last 11 years. In three of those years the decline was nominal; by 0.5 cents per gallon or less. In 2006 we saw the greatest decrease from the Friday through Monday (-3.3 cents per gallon). 2002 was the only year when Labor Day Weekend prices increased (+2.6 cents per gallon)," Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for said.

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