|The statewide gas price average in Texas is $3.41 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. That price is one cent less than on this day last week and is 25 cents more per gallon compared to this day last year. Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in Texas, drivers in El Paso are paying the most on average at $3.78 per gallon while drivers in the McAllen metro area are paying the least at $3.26 per gallon. The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.87, which is one cent more when compared to this day last week and 19 cents more than the price per gallon at this same time last year.
The statewide gas price average experienced a slight decrease from the previous week, but the potential for higher retail fuel prices still exists. This is due to factors such as crude oil prices hovering around $90 per barrel and a slight decrease in regional gasoline supplies compared to the previous week. Despite the possibility of price fluctuations, the good news for drivers is that the annual transition to less expensive winter-blend gas is approaching.
“Gas prices in Texas are 25 cents more per gallon on average compared to this time last year”, said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas spokesperson. “With crude oil hovering around $90 per barrel, steady demand and a slight drop in regional gasoline supply, drivers may not see much relief at the pump for at least a few more weeks. The annual switchover to the cheaper winter-blend fuel takes effect soon.”
The difference between summer- and winter-blend gasoline involves the fuel’s Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at a given temperature. Winter-blend gas has a higher RVP because the fuel must be able to evaporate at low temperatures for the engine to operate properly. Summer-blend gas has a lower RVP to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. That evaporation can cause vapor lock in an engine on hot days and contributes to unhealthy ground-level ozone and smog levels.
Summer-blend gas contains two percent butane, but that percentage is higher in the winter blend. Butane is used as lighter fluid and is a secondary ingredient in fuel canisters used for gas grills and camping. As a fuel, butane is less expensive than other gasoline components, but its high volatility limits how much can be included in summer-grade fuel.
Drivers in Texas are paying the fifth lowest gas price average in the country, according to gasprices.aaa.com. Meanwhile, drivers in California are paying the most at $5.79 on average for a gallon of regular unleaded.
Prices up to date at press time using market prices posted at 3:41 a.m. Motorists can find current gas prices along their route with the free and revamped AAA App for iPhone, iPad and Android. The app can also be used to map a route and learn traffic conditions along that route, find discounts, locate parking, book a hotel and request and track AAA roadside assistance. Learn more at www.AAA.com/mobile.