Best gasoline prices for your holiday travels

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Gasoline prices are a lot lower than they've been the past few years, but the price fluctuates so much that it's difficult to tell whether you're getting a good deal. Perhaps these SAS graphs & maps will help you get a handle on it, so you'll know a good deal when you see one!

If you're like me, and have a Prius for a daily driver, your trips to the gas station are so infrequent that you might not really be conscious of what the gas prices should be. But if you're going to be doing a lot of driving during the upcoming Easter holiday and spring break, you could save a few bucks by being in-the-know.

prius_power

One factor to consider is the time of year. Typically, unless there are other factors such as wars, or supply shortages, etc, gasoline prices go down in the winter (mostly because of reduced demand & less driving). Therefore gasoline prices usually drop in December/January/February, and start to rise in March. You can see this in the graph of weekly gasoline prices below - the vertical reference lines are at Jan 1st, and you can see the gasoline prices dip at many of those reference lines:

gasoline_prices_plot

If you're driving through different states, you should be aware that gasoline prices can vary widely from state to state. The main reason for this is that the different states charge different amounts of taxes. If you schedule your fill-ups in the states with lower taxes, you can save some money! Here's a graph showing how much taxes each state adds to their gasoline price:

gas_taxes

The difference in taxes is a pretty good indication of which states might have lower gasoline prices, but the thing we really want to see is the actual gasoline price! And what better way to see that, and plan your routes & gasoline stops, than a nice simple map ...

state_gasoline_prices

 

So, has this data analysis influenced your vacation plans and/or the route you might take? Perhaps now you're stopping on one side of a state border, rather than the other, to take advantage of cheaper gasoline prices? I hope you enjoyed this little example of "The Power to Know"!

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About Author

Robert Allison

The Graph Guy!

Robert has worked at SAS for over 25 years, and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in Computer Science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from NC State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book (SAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics).

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