On August 30, 2021, the Monday before the Labor Day weekend, the regular gasoline retail price averaged $3.14 per gallon (gal) across the United States, an increase of 92 cents/gal (41%) from the same time in 2020 (Figure 1). In 2020, the average retail gasoline price on the Monday before Labor Day was at its lowest level for that time of year since 2004 because of substantially reduced vehicle travel and other responses to COVID-19, which significantly reduced gasoline demand, as well as lower crude oil prices. So far in 2021, the growing number of individuals that have received COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States and the lifting of travel restrictions have contributed to rising gasoline demand throughout much of the year, leading to pre-Labor Day gasoline prices at their highest levels since 2014. The high prices reflect more demand for gasoline, lower gasoline inventories, and higher crude oil prices leading up to the late-summer holiday weekend. Additional supply constraints brought on by refinery outages, crude oil production shut-ins, and power outages in Louisiana and along the U.S. Gulf Coast (brought on by Hurricane Ida on August 28 and 29) do not appear to have contributed to higher prices going into the Labor Day weekend, though may still contribute to higher prices in the weeks that follow. …

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