Scott Shenk writes about transportation issues affecting Fredericksburg-area residents. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The $4-a-gallon gas mark has been breached
The official start of summer driving season starts in April, and that’s when gas prices historically follow the lead of rising temperatures.
But the oil/gas industry, which continues to reap profits, has gotten a jump on summer driving season.
Even though crude prices (selling at $106.87 per barrel Friday) and U.S. demand are down, national gas prices have steadily climbed in recent months.
Just in the past month, prices have climbed 31 cents a gallon, according to AAA.
And at least one local gas station has already topped the $4-a-gallon price mark–the Valero on State Route 3 in front of the mall, which has long been one of the most expensive stations in the area.
The last time Virginia gas prices eclipsed the $4 mark was in 2008, when the state hit an all-time high of $4.01 a gallon for regular. The state average now is $3.83 a gallon, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. The local average is $3.86 a gallon; last month it was $3.58. (Click here to see AAA’s Fuel Price Finder)
“Analysts believe gas prices will continue to climb through mid-May, which could potentially top out at $4.25 per gallon nationally before retreating,” said AAA’s Martha M. Meade.
Expect to see other local stations top the $4 mark soon. The two Shell stations on U.S. 17 in Stafford have held at $3.99 a gallon for the past week or so, and twelve other area stations have prices in the $3.90s. A few stations are holding pat in the $3.70s. Most prices are hovering in the $3.80s. The lowest is the Southern States on Routes 2/17, where gas cost $3.74 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.
“With the conversion from winter to summer blended gasoline taking place in post states this coming week,” said Meade, “prices at the pump could see a 10-cent to as much as 20-cent jump in the coming weeks.”
The national average price of gas jumped 6 cents a gallon last week to $3.89, putting the price within 22 cents of the all-time high, according to AAA.
If we can make it through April, relief may be on the horizon.
After the peak gas prices hit in late-April or early-May, analysts believe prices will retreat and continue to do so during the second half of the year, Meade said.
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