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Gas prices spike in parts of Kentucky ahead of holiday weekend

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(The Center Square) – Gas prices nationally appear to be stable across the country heading into the holiday weekend. However, that’s not the case in parts of Kentucky.

According to AAA data, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in Kentucky on Thursday was $3.366, nearly a quarter below the national average of $3.615.

Kentucky’s average price rose less than a penny from Wednesday. In the Louisville area, AAA noted Thursday’s average price increased seven cents from the previous day to $3.636.

However, some gas stations in the Louisville area posted significantly higher increases during the same time. Prices were as high as $4.399 a gallon both days in Kentucky’s largest city, roughly 80 cents higher than Tuesday’s price.

For many, Friday marks the beginning of a four-day weekend to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday. In a statement, AAA said it expects 38.4 million drivers to be on the nation’s highways, which would be a record for the holiday.

That also likely explains the spike in prices locally and potentially elsewhere, too.

“Since the pandemic, the summer driving season has not seen a surge in demand, which can push pump prices higher,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “So, it will be interesting to see if this year bucks that trend.”

Fuel demand is increasing as temperatures rise. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that demand last week rose 5% to 9.31 million barrels per day. At the same time, the country’s supply fell by 1 million barrels to 226.8 million, but production rose to an average of 10 million barrels per day.

AAA said that increased demand coupled with lower oil prices could keep prices from rising in the near future.

Regionally, Kentucky’s average remains less expensive than most of its neighboring states. Indiana reported an average price of $3.712 on Thursday, while the price was $3.56 in Ohio.

Illinois had the highest average price among border states, with stations there charging $4.01 a gallon. In Tennessee, the price was $3.219.

California has the highest gas prices nationally, with an average gallon costing $5.155. That’s more than 68% higher than the cheapest statewide average of $3.064 in Mississippi.

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