Gas prices on either side of $2 a gallon in Virginia
Today’s national average price of $2.06 per gallon is up two cents per gallon on the week and 26 cents per gallon for the month. Despite the recent increase, average gas prices remain 34 cents per gallon less than a year ago.
“Americans have saved nearly $10 billion on gas during the first three months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015,” said Martha Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Gas prices are expected to remain relatively low compared to recent years, though average prices could rise another 15 to 25 cents per gallon by Memorial Day.”
At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down $2.67 cents from last week Thursday’s close (markets were closed for Good Friday) to settle at $36.79 per barrel. Crude oil prices are likely to continue to remain volatile in the near-term due to persistent skepticism regarding the prospects for reductions or freezes in production.
Demand has increased this spring as the weather has turned warmer, and this increase comes at the same time that many refineries conduct maintenance to prepare for the summer driving season. Refineries conducting maintenance produce less fuel, which can lead to higher prices. The EPA mandates gas stations in some parts of the country sell summer-blend gasoline from June 1-September 15 for air-quality reasons. Refineries begin producing summer-blend gasoline by April 1, and this fuel costs more to produce.