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Labor Day gas prices back to record lows: Here's how that compares to the last decade of pump prices

Cortney Moore

Got a road trip planned this Labor Day? Lucky for you, the cost to hit the road is low.

Nationwide gasoline prices are cheaper on average than it has been in the last three years, according to American Automobile Association (AAA). This includes the holiday weekend, which is seeing a current average at around $2.58 give or take.

So, you’ll be spending less on fuel this year and more on holiday fun.

Although gas prices have dropped in most U.S. states, a few have remained at or above the $3 mark like Hawaii, California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska. It’s also worth noting that each one of these states outside of Hawaii have experienced a significant decrease in price within the last month, according to AAA.

Outside those pricey states, the cost to fill up has stayed low during a Donald Trump presidency, causing him to remind folks with a tweet Friday that Democrats' "green" policies would raise prices at the pump.

Here's a look at the last decade of prices over the holiday weekend:

2009 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.58

In 2009, the national gas price average on Labor Day was $2.58, which puts it on par with this year’s current average. Moreover, it ranks as the third lowest in the 10-year span.

2010 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.68

A year later, the average increased by 10 cents — which makes it the median gas price within this dataset.

2011 Labor Day Gas Price: $3.66

By 2011, vacationers were hit with a whopping price increase of 98 cents. According to a gasoline report from the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics during that time, the drive in prices were due to shifting supply and demand in crude oil, a loss of refinery capacities and product pipelines. Despite the sharp jump, this figure is only the second highest in this dataset.

2012 Labor Day Gas Price: $3.83

In 2012, gas prices were at an all-time high and Labor Day was no exception. The national average for the year was $3.62, but the holiday weekend experienced an increase of more than 20 cents.

According to AAA spokeswoman Tamra Johnson, gas prices were impacted by: “… increased crude oil costs; regional supply problems in the Midwest and West Coast caused by refinery and pipeline disruptions; and Gulf Coast refinery closures in advance of Hurricane Isaac.”

2013 Labor Day Gas Price: $3.59

Gas prices for 2013’s Labor Day saw a slight decrease of 24 cents, resulting in an average of $3.59. In the words of AAA spokesman Michael Green, “Motorists this year paid the third most expensive gas prices on record during the busy summer driving season.” He also added that gasoline supplies were about eight percent higher than 2012 due to smooth refinery operations and a weak hurricane season.

2014 Labor Day Gas Price: $3.44

The year 2014 saw a 15-cent decrease in the Labor Day gas price average for a total of $3.44. According to a report by Green, U.S. and European sanctions against “Russia’s long-term ability to develop new resources” were a contributing factor to the price. Additionally, while West Texas Intermediate’s oil prices settled at $98.29 per barrel, which was 41 cents higher than its near six month low.

Out of the 10-year span, 2014 was the fourth highest in Labor Day gas pricing.

2015 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.40

Dropping $1.04, 2015 Labor Day gas prices and holiday goers experienced a relief. At $2.40, this average is the second lowest in this 10-year range. What happened to create such a significant decline? The simple answer, an abundance of crude oil.

However, a report from AAA at the time more thoroughly said, “There was more than enough oil to meet demand around the world, and that allowed oil prices to drop to the lowest levels since 2009.”

2016 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.20

Road trippers were greeted to a gas price average of $2.20 — an all-time low in this 10-year data set as well as a record under the Barack Obama presidency. According to a report by Johnson, “Abundant supplies of gasoline have contributed to starkly lower gas prices across the country during this summer driving season.”

2017 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.64

Making a 44-cent climb from the previous year, 2017’s Labor Day had the fifth lowest average in the 10-year span. A report from AAA said the price increase was a result of Hurricane Harvey-induced refinery and pipeline shutdowns across Corpus Christi and Houston.

2018 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.84

Coming in at fifth highest, Labor Day gas prices averaged at $2.84 for 2018. Total crude oil inventories were lower this year than the one before. According to a report from AAA, “Lower crude stocks, amid high global crude demand, have helped to increase global crude prices this year over last.”

2019 Labor Day Gas Price: $2.58

Sharing the title of third lowest, 2019 is tied with 2009 for a Labor Day gas price average of $2.58 per gallon. It is 25 cents cheaper than 2018, when it was $2.83, and 6 cents cheaper than the same period in 2017. According AAA’s latest report, crude prices have mostly decreased after President Trump announced tariffs on imports from China.


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