NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Memorial Day vacationers are paying less at the pump vs. the same weekend last year, but analysts warned that you'll be paying more for gas deeper into the summer.
Of the 38 million Americans AAA anticipates will travel this weekend, 88% of them will be commuting by car and paying on average about $3.67 a gallon, which is about 1 cent less than last year at this time.
But that 1 cent change from a year ago could swing higher by 10 cents in less than three months.
"Unfortunately, I think they're going to go a little higher -- 5 to 10 cents on the retail side," Spartan Commodity Partners CEO Alan Harry said in an interview, adding that consumers are expected this summer to use a lot of unleaded gas, geopolitical risk remains priced into the marketplace and crude prices haven't tumbled, despite conditions that have suggested the commodity should pull back. "So I think it has a little bit more upside, unfortunately, especially coming into the busy weekend and a lot of driving."
The expected rise in prices, though, will follow a familiar pattern among drivers in California, Florida, New York, Massachusetts and others. Sure, the 1 cent drop in a year on the national average is something consumers can stomach, but the East Coast and California saw double-digit cent increases.
California prices this Memorial day are 11 cents higher, Floridians are paying 16 cents more, New Yorkers are paying 14 cents a gallon more and those in Massachusetts are paying about 17 cents more. Even Texans find themselves paying about 3 more cents a gallon at the gas station.
Higher prices at the beginning of the summer coast to coast with the prospect of more expensive gasoline bills ahead are largely due to the unexpected harsh winter weather, which in the first quarter throttled consumer spending and starved GDP to 0.1% growth.