Labor Day gas prices highest in four years as Americans driving more

September 1, 2018 GMT

Motorists hitting the road this Labor Day weekend will see the highest holiday gas prices in four years.

The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $2.83 per gallon Monday, 43 cents more than at the same point in 2017, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The prices going into the Labor Day weekend has not been that high since 2014, when it was $3.45 per gallon.

Wisconsin drivers were paying an average of $2.81 per gallon on Friday, according to data from AAA.

Prices are lower than at the beginning of the summer, when the U.S. average peaked at $2.94 per gallon.

Higher crude oil prices, which account for about two-thirds of the pump price, are the primary culprit, according to EIA.

North Sea Brent crude is trading at $18 per barrel more than at the same point last year. The EIA says every dollar change in the cost of oil translates to about a 2.4-cents-per-gallon change in the retail price of gasoline.

U.S. drivers are also logging more miles, putting more pressure on prices, according to EIA.

In the first half of this year, Americans collectively drove 5.2 billion more miles than in the first half of 2017, an increase of about 0.3 percent. That follows four years in which total miles traveled increased more than 7.5 percent, reversing a decline that followed the recession of 2008.