Gas prices hit three-year high

Published 8:47 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

Virginia drivers have steadily paid more and more at gas pumps this year as traveling season begins, but pump prices in the commonwealth recently hit a level not seen since 2015, the American Automobile Association of Tidewater Virginia announced on Monday.

The state average as of Monday was $2.53 per gallon, which was five cents more than the previous week, 19 cents more than the previous month and 30 cents more compared to the same time in 2017, according to the press release. Hampton Roads gas prices mirrored the state average at $2.52 per gallon.

National prices were sitting at an average of $2.71 per gallon, five cents more than last week and the most expensive in nearly three years. Prices are forecast to climb even higher, as well, and only 27 percent of gas stations nationwide are selling gas for $2.50 or less.

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Gasbuddy.com on Wednesday recorded prices at Suffolk pumps that ranged from $2.48 to $2.63 per gallon, a substantial increase compared to the $2.39 to $2.49 per gallon recorded on March 28.

“Many will be quick to ask why this trend is happening,” Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, stated in an April 12 press release. “Ultimately, OPEC bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production in 2017, leaving U.S. oil inventories at far lower levels than a year ago.

“However, higher oil prices have also enticed U.S. producers to ramp up crude oil exports, effectively draining U.S. oil inventories at a higher pace than that oil is being replaced,” DeHaan continued. “In addition, recent rhetoric from the Trump administration inflaming the situation in Syria and pushing a trade war with China is like pouring gasoline on a fire — they certainly put more upward pressure on prices.”