AAA: Gas prices spring forward, up seven cents over past week
The start of spring coincides with the start of a spring in gas prices across the country and here in the Mid-Atlantic region. Virginia’s prices are up by seven cents over last week as the trifecta of lower gasoline stockpiles, higher oil prices, and refinery maintenance season sends local prices higher following a long stretch of dropping prices.
Today’s national gas price average is $2.61, which is up seven cents in the last week, up nine cents in the last month and 32 cents higher than this time last year.
At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $65.88 per barrel, up $3.37 from the previous week and $3.82 higher than Monday’s close. This week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) supply report showed a surprising draw in crude oil inventories which stopped a three week stretch of gains. The increase is partly the result of rising tensions in the Middle East and worries about Venezuela’s production slide.
“Continued strong demand for gasoline, rising crude oil prices and declining gasoline inventories have pushed local gas prices anywhere between four and 11 cents higher this week,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “This increase is not a chance occurrence – motorists seeing higher prices at the pump this week should expect those prices to inch even higher as we head into April.”
AAA expects gas prices, already 25 cents higher than last year at this time, to increase by double digits ahead of the busy summer driving season, but that is not deterring families from taking a good old fashion road trip. A new AAA survey reveals an estimated 88 million Americans will take a family trip this year. Gas prices – likely the highest prices seen since 2014 – will not stop vacation planners from packing up their cars. Road trips remain the most popular option for family vacations, with nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a trip expected to go by car.