Gas prices hit 19-month high

gas pricesThe Mid-Atlantic region continues to see a jump in gas prices as stations make the final change over to summer-blend fuels and the increase in driving demand takes hold for the season.

Today’s national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.41. This price is three cents more expensive than one week ago, 12 cents more than one month ago and 31 cents more than one year ago. The national average is at its highest level in 19 months.

“The rise in gas prices over the last two weeks is not surprising for April and is a direct result of people starting to drive more because of the warmer weather,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Increased demand, coupled with the final switchover to summer-blend gasoline and rising crude oil prices, results in drivers paying more at the pump.”

At the close of Thursday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was up $1.48 on the week to settle at $53.18 per barrel. The price of crude has closed above $50 since March 31. Crude oil futures opened Monday trading at their highest level in more than a month as a result of ongoing tensions in the Middle East. Crude oil also rallied and then leveled out following last week’s U.S. missile strike against a Syrian airbase amid fears that further unrest in the region could lead to oil supply disruptions.

Additional factors contributing to increased crude oil prices include high production cut adherence by OPEC and non-OPEC producers and the possibility that participating countries may extend their agreement beyond the June deadline. Traders will keep a close eye on political dynamics in the Middle East and any further discussions between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

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