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Gas prices decline, for now

While things are heating up in degrees Fahrenheit, drivers have at least been able to sweat a little less with falling gas prices in Hampton Roads and throughout Virginia this past week, according to a Monday press release from AAA Tidewater. But record-breaking demand could spike gas prices by the end of the summer.

The average cost for a gallon of gas across Hampton Roads was $2.67 on Monday, five cents cheaper than last week and six cents compared to last month. That was just slightly higher than the $2.66 average statewide, four cents cheaper than the average price per gallon the week before and also a decrease from the last month, per the press release. It was, however, 58 cents more expensive compared to the same time last year.

Forty-four states had steady or less-expensive gas price averages on Monday compared to one week prior, but that declining trend could soon reverse. The Energy Information Administration recorded gasoline demand at 9.88 million barrels per day nationwide for the week ending on June 8, setting a new all-time record, according to the press release.

Gasoline inventories in the United States dropped sharply by 2.27 million barrels to 237 million in total land inventories, which was 5.7 million below stocks at the same time last year.

“If demand continues to strengthen and inventories decrease in the weeks ahead, motorists can expect gas prices to reverse and start to increase again,” Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia, stated in the press release. “AAA expects the national gas price average to range between $2.85 and $3.05 through Labor Day, likely seeing the summer’s highest prices in June.”

Western Texas Intermediate, a grade of crude oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing, decreased by $1.83 to settle at $65.06 at the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to the press release. Prices this week will likely fluctuate ahead of OPEC’s meeting this Friday.

Gasbuddy.com on Tuesday recorded regular gas prices at Suffolk pumps that ranged from $2.54 to as high as $2.69 per gallon, a decent improvement compared to the $2.58 to $2.73 per gallon range recorded on June 12.