Gas back to $3 a gallon mark in Virginia

If you haven’t already had to pay $3 a gallon or more at the pumps, get ready. The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded has hit the $3 mark statewide.

“This is the time of year when prices are typically at their lowest. It makes us wonder just how high prices will go in 2011,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Martha Meade said Monday.

A gallon of regular unleaded cost Virginians on average $2.65 a year ago at this time. But prices have been steadily rising in recent weeks, following a national trend. The nationwide average hit $3 a gallon on Dec. 22.

Higher crude-oil prices and increased demand with the ongoing economic recovery are at the root of the spike in prices at the pump. Which means prices are only going to continue to see upward pressure as the recovery continues to take hold.

Crude oil closed at $88.03 a barrel on Friday. Analysts expect that price to pass the $100 mark at some point in 2011.

“The question on everyone’s mind is will we see pump prices rally to their second highest level in recorded history this spring,” Meade said. “Some market watchers and analysts fear this will be the case.”

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.


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