By JACK WEATHERLY
Mississippi was in a four-way tie Monday for the cheapest gasoline in the country, $2.50 for a gallon of regular, the American Automobile Association reports.
That bodes well for those planning road trips in the Magnolia State over the extended Memorial Day weekend, whether they’re in-staters or visitors.
AAA projects that nearly 43 million Americans will mark the start of the summer vacation season, the second-highest travel volume since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.
Overall, an additional 1.5 million more people will take to the nation’s roads, rails and runways compared with last year, a 3.6 percent increase, AAA says.
Weather should cooperate in Mississippi for Memorial Day weekend, with skies expected to be mostly sunny and temperatures reaching the low 90s, after an especially rainy spring, which caused flooding in much of the state.
Tourism numbers are already up for the year, said Craig Ray, head of Visit Mississippi, a division of the Mississippi Development Authority.
Because the state usually has some of the lowest prices for fuel, “we’re very drivable,” Ray said in an interview.
More than $6 billion dollars were spent in tourism last year, including $1 billion from those who live in Mississippi, Ray said.
Travel means stops for fuel and food – and restrooms
GasBuddy issued a report that found that Murphy USA restrooms were the cleanest in Mississippi.
That conclusion was based on information gathered and analyzed between September 2016 and April 2019.
Adam Suess, spokesman for El Dorado, Ark.-based Murphy USA, said in an interview that clean restrooms are “absolutely a top priority for us.”
He said the credit goes to the staff at the stations and convenience stores, who “work tirelessly,” to attend to those details. “They deserve all the credit.”
Current trends in dropping gasoline prices could continue, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.
“With a trade deal with China seemingly more and more unlikely, we may continue to see [lower] oil and gasoline prices,” DeHaan said.
Jackson gasoline prices have fallen 3.6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.43 for a gallon of regular on Monday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 273 stations.
Prices in Jackson are 6.7 cents per gallon lower than a month ago, and 15 cents per gallon lower than a year ago, GasBuddy reported.
The national average for regular fell 2.1 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.84. It was down 0.6 cents from a month ago, and stands 8.1 cents lower than a year ago.
“The national average price of gasoline has continued its slow retreat in a majority of states in the last week, DeHaan said.
Even California, the nation’s priciest state for gasoline, will likely see the average fall back below $4 for the first time in a month, DeHaan said.
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