When most motorists think of holiday weekends, they think of rising gas prices. While Memorial Day weekend is considered a travel holiday, it does not always confirm that thought.
"Believe it or not, we've actually seen gas prices go down on Memorial Day weekend three years in a row," said Gregg Laskoski, a senior petroleum analyst with the GasBuddy Organization.
Laskoski said there is little to no truth to the notion that holiday fuel prices are automatically higher.
"The public seems to think if it's a travel holiday, prices are going up," he said. "More often than not, they stay flat or decline. We've seen that on the Fourth of July and Labor Day, too."
Currently, regular gas prices in Spencer are $3.49, higher than the statewide average of $3.444 reported at www.iowastategasprices.com, which is one of 120 websites operated by the GasBuddy Organization and updated by online users.
Both numbers are dwarfed by the national average of $3.671.
"A lot of people will still say it shouldn't be above $3, and I wouldn't argue that," Laskoski said, "but all things are relative, and considering where we are everywhere else and where we've been, I'd say that's pretty good."
Last year's Iowa gas price average peaked at $3.96 on May 11 and fell to $3.81 by Memorial Day weekend, Laskoski said.
Crude oil prices are the dominant factor in the equation, he added.
"I think the reason we're seeing prices come down right now is because crude oil prices have come down significantly at $90.38," Laskoski said. "That's the main reason why most parts of the country are seeing good signs."
As a former AAA employee and journalist, Laskoski is familiar with travel trends and said Memorial Day travel is nowhere near travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but was not sure where it ranked next to July Fourth and Labor Day.
"There will be a significant amount of travel, but nothing out of the ordinary," he concluded. "For a lot of people, it's just a three-day weekend."