Greater Williamsburg gas prices on upswing

Jimmy LaRoue

Gas prices in greater Williamsburg and across Virginia have begun an incremental climb as tourism season begins.

Across the Williamsburg area and Hampton Roads, gas prices average $2.24 per gallon, and in Virginia, $2.23, three cents higher than last week, 14 cents higher than in March and 29 cents higher than at this time last year, according to AAA Tidewater.

The national average is $2.41. Gas prices in greater Williamsburg range from $2.21 to $2.49, according to the crowdsourced gas price site,

The local and state increases mirror increases across much of the U.S., as 43 states and Washington, D.C. have seen increased gas prices in the last week. The national average, currently $2.41, has increased for 20 straight days, AAA Tidewater says.

"This increase was most prevalent in the East Coast region where refiners wrapped up seasonal turnaround, resulting in significant price increases last week," a AAA Tidewater news release states.

If you want to find gas under $2.00 per gallon, you'll have a long drive. You can't find that price anywhere in the greater Williamsburg area, Hampton Roads, the Peninsula or the Richmond metro area.

The lowest gas prices statewide are in Danville, on Virginia's southern border, with $1.97 recorded at one station and $1.99 at four other stations, according to Gloucester and Gloucester Point have the least expensive gas nearby, with prices ranging between $2.05 to $2.15 per gallon, says.

The Energy Information Administration's summer forecast is for gas prices to be slightly higher this summer than last, with U.S. consumers paying an average of $2.46 per gallon, 23 cents per gallon higher than the average price in 2016, according to the EIA's Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook.

The EIA says the price uptick is due to the forecast of slightly higher crude oil prices this summer, with average prices hitting $2.51 per gallon in July but falling back to $2.43 by September. It says gas prices are affected by four primary factors: crude oil prices, wholesale margins, retail distribution costs, and taxes.

With more expensive summer-grade of gas now in production, the EIA says that also factors into higher seasonal prices.

A survey by AAA last month noted that one-in-four people believe gas prices are too high, which is already influencing the travel industry.

"The good news is people are still planning to hit the road," said AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing Bill Sutherland in a news release. "With nearly 80 percent of family travelers planning a road trip this year, higher gas prices are making shorter trips to national parks and theme parks the most desired travel destinations."

LaRoue can be reached by phone at 757-345-2342.

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