TYLER, Texas — Travel is definitely limited this year, but if you are looking to take a road trip, there is good news.
The price of gas dropped in Texas for the first time in two months.
“Not used to seeing this in July,” Daniel Armbruster, a spokesperson for AAA Texas, said. “There are, of course, flukes here and there, but certainly, in the middle of summer for gas prices to be under $2 a gallon in Texas is almost unheard of.”
This is the first year since 2004 in which drivers in Texas paid less than $2 per gallon for unleaded gasoline on Independence Day. After cratering at the beginning of the pandemic, prices rose steadily for two months straight until this week.
“We start to see travel tick up a little bit, and now we’re kind of seeing it pull back a little bit,” Armbruster explained. “And that’s probably likely due to some of the increase we’ve seen in COVID-19.”
According to AAA, drivers in Tyler paid $1.85 per gallon on average Thursday, which is 54 cents less than on the same date a year ago. Statewide, the average is $1.88, which is 59 cents cheaper than in 2019. So, Armbruster says even if travel is down overall because people do not want to fly or take a cruise, Texas interstates may still see a lot of driver on the road this summer.
“From our region, which includes Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, we’re looking at 79 million trips total,” Armbruster said of AAA’s quarterly travel forecast. “Ninety seven percent of that will be by automobile.”
With life changing faster than a yellow light these days, he says that there is no guarantee a full tank will stay this affordable. “Prices, we may see a little bit of change here and there, but honestly, more than a few weeks out—given the circumstances—it’s really hard to determine what’s going to happen with gas prices,” he stated.
AAA reported Thursday that only three states, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, have cheaper gas right now than Texas.
For drivers still interested in saving money on gas, Armbruster had a couple of suggestions.
“Make sure you, of course, lighten your load,” he said. “Take any extra items out that you don’t need for wherever you’re going. And also make sure that you avoid those quick starts and stops, really just not pressing the gas pedal down, the accelerator down too much, that will also help you as well. And you know, it’s 100 degrees outside, but the A/C is certainly, if you can cut it back a little bit once you get things cooled down in the car, that can help too. Every little bit helps, right?”