Gas prices can vary widely depending on when you fill up.


Your summer ride might be a little more joyful now that gas prices may have already peaked for the year.

As the Memorial Day weekend kicks off the summer travel season, American motorists are poised to benefit from declining gas prices.

While gas remains expensive in certain pockets, including $4-per-gallon California, the national average is falling.

The national average is unlikely to hit $3 per gallon for the fifth straight calendar year, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel-savings app GasBuddy.

“It’s another great year to hit the road,” he said. “Gas prices remain affordable in most areas, unless you’re in California.”

Jeannie Crawford knows that first hand.

The former retail store manager recently moved with her family from California to South Carolina. Her new state’s vastly lower gas prices – $2.48 compared with $4.03 as of Thursday, according to AAA – were a nice welcome gift.

Crawford, her husband, and her son drive three vehicles – a 2012 Kia Rio, a 2005 Ford Explorer Sport Trac pickup and a 2012 Nissan Versa – for a total of about 250 miles per week.

Best time to fill up:Why you should fill up on gas on Monday mornings (and never on Friday afternoons)

Summer gas prices:Don’t fill up in these states on your road trip

“I think the prices here in SC are as they should be all over the country, and think there isn’t any excuse for such a price difference,” she said in an email.

South Carolina was the fourth-cheapest state to fill up as of Thursday, according to AAA.

The national average on Thursday was $2.85, down 1 cent from a week ago and down from $2.89 in early May, AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said.

“There’s a large possibility we may have already peaked,” she said.