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Get out and drive: Residents may see cheapest summertime gas prices in 16 years

Even though gas prices have started to inch higher as society continues to awaken from weeks of shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Mississippi residents could see the cheapest summertime gas prices in 16 years.

According to a report from the Energy Information Administration, demand for gasoline has increased 18 percent since mid-May. That increase in demand has pushed gasoline prices up 15 percent over the same period.

According to Mississippi AAA, the current statewide average is $1.76, which is 5 cents more expensive on the week, and 25 cents more on the month, but 50 cents cheaper than this time last year.

“The economy is beginning to reopen slowly, meaning more demand for gasoline, but prices are still quite moderate compared to previous years,” said Don Redman, Mississippi AAA spokesman. “We typically see our peak prices in June, but you have to go back 17 years to find June gasoline prices cheaper than today’s statewide average.”

In Warren County Friday, the average price for gasoline was $1.756 according to the AAA’s Gas Prices tracker.

In a release Friday, AAA does not expect prices to spike to typical summer levels because demand, though rising, won’t be sufficient enough to drive down the significant inventories of gasoline.

According to the EIA, because of the dramatic slowdown in the global economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand for gasoline this spring has been at a nearly 30-year low.