Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Pain At The Pump Lessening, But It's Still There

The heart of summer travel season for drivers ended Labor Day weekend with gas prices quite lower than as recently as July 4 but still way higher than a year ago.

In Kimball, the Observer found that prices at the pump for regular unleaded averaged $3.70 on Sunday.

That was 7 cents higher than the Nebraska average and 9 cents lower than the national average, according to the GasBuddy, which monitors gas prices and offers the data to motorists.

At Conoco, near I-80 Exit 20 in Kimball, staff told the Observer on Sunday that business from interstate travelers seemed busy at some points over the holiday weekend but overall was much like a summer in which high fuel costs kept down interstate travel.

One man at Conoco said high fuel costs forced him to switch to riding his motorcycle from driving a larger vehicle. He said gas prices should be far below $3, and he sympathized with those working in agriculture who have been clobbered with high fuel prices. Diesel sells in the $5 range in Kimball, just about the national average.

GasBuddy said Sept. 1 that average national gas prices declined every week this summer and were expected over the holiday weekend to be $3.79, the lowest since March 3 and 20% lower than on July 4.

That's still 63 cents more than $3.16 a year ago on Labor Day weekend, $1.57 more than $2.22 in 2020, and $1.23 more than $2.56 in pre-pandemic 2019.

At the beginning of the summer, 58% of Americans responding to a GasBuddy survey said that they intended to take a summer road trip, but average prices topping $5 a gallon took a big bite into gas demand and travel plans, the company said.

GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan said gas prices "could continue to decline well into fall, barring major disruptions from hurricanes" and other causes.

The trend of falling gas prices continued the day after Labor Day, when GasBuddy reported the national average at $3.75 nationally and $3.52 statewide.

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