AAA: Record high demand pumps up gas prices

gas pricesLocal gas prices around the Mid-Atlantic region and nationwide have continued to rise due to record level demand for gasoline in April, unrest in the Middle East and rising crude oil prices. Motorists in Virginia are paying between five and seven cents more for gas in comparison to last week.

Today’s national gas price average is $2.81, which is up five cents in the last week, up 16 cents in the last month and 42 cents higher than this time last year. Today’s average price is the highest price per gallon since 2015 from June 13-20.

At the close of NYMEX trading Friday, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled at $68.10 per barrel, down 28 cents from the previous week. Crude oil exports surged to 2.331 million barrels per day (b/d) last week – the highest weekly estimate on record from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Additionally, the EIA reported that consumer gasoline demand at 9.857 million b/d is the highest level ever on record for the month of April and exceeds typical summer demand measurements.

“Rising gas prices may cause headaches for those planning their next trip, especially as Memorial Day weekend is only a month away,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Consumers can take steps to save on every day gas prices by properly maintaining their vehicle, adjusting driving habits and using the right fuel for their vehicle.”

AAA provides the following tips to save on rising gas prices

  • Keep the tires properly inflated.  Vehicles with under-inflated tires can cause a drag on the vehicle that is like driving with the parking brake slightly on.  The correct PSI (pressure per square inch) for the vehicle is located on the driver side doorjamb not on the sidewall of the tire.  The PSI on the sidewall of the tire is the maximum PSI for the tire, not the vehicle PSI recommendation.
  • Change your air filters.  Air filters clogged with dirt, dust, and insects can prevent an even exchange of air intake that wastes gas and causes the engine to lose power.
  • Check the engine oil level when buying gasoline to be sure the engine is lubricated properly.  Using the recommended grade of motor oil can save between three and five cents a gallon.
  • Unload your trunk.  Pack lightly when traveling and avoid carrying unnecessary items on the vehicle’s roof or in its trunk.
  • Adjust your driving habits.  Accelerate gently, brake gradually and avoid hard stops.  Driving aggressively causes your engine to work harder costing more in fuel. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
  • Buy regular unleaded gasoline unless otherwise indicated by your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  • Download the AAA mobile app to find the lowest gas prices for your area.
  • Fuel Price Finder (http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder) locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
  • AAA Gas Cost Calculator (http://gasprices.aaa.com/aaa-gas-cost-calculator/) helps budget travel expenses.
  • TripTik Mobile (http://www.aaa.com/mobile) plots fuel prices along your travel route.
  • AAA’s Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card (http://www.AAA.com/financial/AAAvisa.htm) accumulates double points on fuel purchases.
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