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AAA: Gas prices continue recent upward trend

gas pricesDrivers across the Mid-Atlantic region may be pouting as they head to the pump, as they pay for gas that is more expensive than last week.

High gasoline demand, tightening supplies and an increase in crude oil prices have made way for prices as much as six cents higher is some areas of Virginia.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.56, which is three cents higher than one week ago, eight cents higher than one month ago and 38 cents higher than this time last year.

“October saw strong demand numbers for gasoline likely, in part, due to consumers taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “As consumers fill up their tanks more frequently, we are seeing supply levels tighten and gas prices increase. However, we don’t expect this increase to be long-term as colder weather arrives and gasoline demand decreases.”

U.S. regular gasoline retail prices averaged $2.51 per gallon in October, a decrease of 14 cents from the average in September, which reflected the effects of market disruptions following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts the U.S. regular gasoline retail price will average $2.47 per gallon in November and $2.39 per gallon in December. EIA forecasts that U.S. regular gasoline retail prices will average $2.40 a gallon in 2017 and $2.45 a gallon in 2018.

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $56.74 per barrel, $1.10 higher than the previous week. Earlier this week, crude oil jumped to $57 per barrel, its highest level in two years.  Political tension in the Middle East has been a factor driving oil prices higher.  Tensions rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran, especially over Yemen, are fostering concerns that a war will erupt in the region and disrupt oil.