Summer is a time for cross-country road trips, beach vacations and plenty of other fun adventures. Many of these activities require people to get behind the wheel and head to far-off locations. While these road trips can certainly be fun, they can also be costly if drivers aren't aware of how to handle the roads.
A steady spring
AAA reported that gas prices in early April bring a lot of good news for drivers. After an up-and-down winter that saw expenses rise, the industry has rebounded. The national average for a gallon of gas is now $2.39, which represents a drop of 3 cents from the start of the month. That mark was hit after prices fell for 24 out of the past 30 days, bouncing back to a more palatable number after reaching a peak of $2.46 in early March.
The savings are even more impressive when compared to expenses from 2014. At this time last year, gas prices were well above the $3 mark. Drivers are saving an average of $1.19 per gallon with the help of today's prices - a fact that should help many feel good when they stop to fill up the tank in the coming weeks.
"This spring has been relatively pain free at the pumps for most drivers with a few exceptions," said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. "Gas prices in most places are still relatively cheap and we have not seen the national average jump at the same dramatic rates that have been so common during the spring in recent years."
Looking ahead to summer
Drivers who have big plans for summer are in a good position to save money even while having fun. AAA predicted that oil refineries would finish up their seasonal maintenance and boost production, increasing supply without impacting demand. That could cause prices to decline to around $2 per gallon in some areas, according to the organization.
"There is a real hope that gas prices could drop significantly in time for the busy summer driving season," Ash continued. "The overall outlook looks good for drivers, and with any luck we will avoid the types of problems that often lead to higher gas prices at this time of year."
There are a few potential problems drivers should be aware of. Most refineries will switch to a summer blend beginning in May, and this type of fuel tends to be a bit more expensive. Still, those who invest in a car tune up and regular maintenance to keep their vehicles running smoothly can battle higher prices with improved fuel efficiency.