Local gas prices steadily on the rise

Tjefferson@vagazette.com

As drivers make their way to summer destinations, they likely will see higher gas prices than they've become accustom to.

"The price of oil is closing in on $50 a barrel and earlier this summer it was $42 a barrel, which means prices at the pump are going to go up" said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at Gasbuddy.com, a crowdsourcing site for gas prices.

The average price of unleaded gasoline in Virginia is $2.09, which is an eight-cents increase from last month and a 16-cents increase from July 2016, according to AAA.

In Williamsburg, prices range from $2.05 to $2.22 according to GasBuddy.com.

Prices trending upward during the summer months is nothing new, according to one store manager.

"The prices here are going up steadily but usually it rises in the summer and when we get to the fall it levels off," said Johnny Rash, manager at the Sunoco at 7107 Merrimac Trail.

Local drivers aren't happy with the uptick at the pump.

"I don't like these prices. They are too high. It's costing more money for people to fill up their tank than it should," said resident Joshua Ebb. "Nobody really has a choice you have to pay to use it."

Compared to national averages, Virginia is still well below the average price of regular unleaded gasoline, which is $2.32. The national average is at its highest price since June 15 and has now increased for 12 of the last 15 days, according to AAA.

"As summer moves forward, the days of dropping summer gas prices appear to be behind us for now," said Georjeane Blumling, spokesperson for AAA Tidewater Virginia, in a news release. "U.S. crude inventories are moving in the opposite direction of demand – a perfect storm for continued price increases heading into August."

DeHaan said gas prices have been rising because of sanctions in Venezuela, decline of U.S. inventory and OPEC cutting oil production earlier this year.

There might not be any relief in sight at the pump.

"Over the next few weeks I expect gas prices to increase," DeHaan said.

Jefferson can be reached by phone at 757-790-9313.

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