CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -As pandemic restrictions loosen, more people are traveling just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, and that means a surge in the demand for gas.
The energy information administration estimates a 10% increase in gasoline demand over the last week. An increase in demand means an increase in prices.
AAA estimates people in the Charlottesville area are paying about 4 cents more than a week ago and 28 cents more than a month ago. The average in Charlottesville is at $1.97 a gallon, which is one cent higher than the state average.
Nationally, a gallon of gas averages about $2.17. Gas is still nearly 50 cents cheaper than it was this time last year, when it was at $2.43
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AAA Press Release:
Richmond, Virginia (Monday, June 29, 2020)--On the week, gasoline demand, as estimated by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), increased 10% from 7.8 million bbl to 8.6 million bbl. While the demand rate is much lower than a typical summer reading, it’s the highest recorded since late March showing continued signs that Americans are filling up more. Virginia’s gas price average is $1.96, up 4 cents over the past week. Today’s average is 30 cents more than Virginia’s lowest average gas price($1.66) for 2020. The Commonwealth hit that price back on May 6th and prices have been rising since then.
“The increase in gasoline demand contributed towards the national gas price average’s four cent jump to $2.17. While that average will continue to increase ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend, travelers will find pump prices about 50 cents cheaper than last year’s holiday,” said Morgan Dean, AAA spokesperson.
AAA did not release an Independence Day holiday travel forecast this year, but does forecast that Americans will take 683 million road trips from July 1 – September 30. Before you hit the road for the holiday or a summer trip, AAA recommends:
- Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – have your engine and oil levels checked.
- Include an emergency road kit in your vehicle with an extra cell phone charger, first-aid kit, a blanket, flashlight, basic tools, jumper cables, and gloves.
- Visit AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map at TripTik.AAA.com for the latest state and local travel restrictions.
- Pack face coverings, cleaning supplies and a thermometer.
- Take all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards.
- The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Kentucky (+9 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), West Virginia (+9 cents), North Carolina (+8 cents), Colorado (+8 cents), Indiana (+8 cents), South Carolina (+7 cents), Pennsylvania (+7 cents), Minnesota (+6 cents) and Georgia (+6 cents).
- The nation’s top 10 largest monthly increases: Colorado (+41 cents), Montana (+35 cents), West Virginia (+28 cents), Kansas (+28 cents), Kentucky (+27 cents), North Dakota (+27 cents), Delaware (+27 cents), South Carolina (+26 cents), Texas (+24 cents) and North Carolina (+24 cents).
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast states saw fairly large pump price jumps compared to recent weeks with increases ranging from 4 to 9 cents. West Virginia (+9 cents), North Carolina (+8 cents) and Pennsylvania (+7 cents) saw the biggest increases in the region and land on this week’s top 10 largest weekly increases list. All other states saw prices fluctuate between four and eight cents with the exception of New York (+2 cents).
With the exception of Virginia ($1.96), all Mid-Atlantic and Northeast state averages are $2 per gallon or more. Pennsylvania ($2.43) carries the most expensive average in the region and also lands on this week’s respective top 10 most expensive markets list in the country.
Most states in the region saw smaller increases at the pump likely due to the large increase in gasoline stocks, which added 1.3 million bbl, according to EIA data. Regional gasoline stocks sit at 75.4 million bbl. Gas prices are likely to increase for most states in the region, but the tri-states – New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – may see smaller jumps due to the requirement that travelers from states with high coronavirus rates quarantine upon arrival.
Oil Market Dynamics
At the end of Friday’s formal trading session, WTI decreased by 23 cents to settle at $38.49 per barrel. Domestic crude prices pushed cheaper last week due to an increase in new coronavirus infections worldwide, which could suppress crude demand if stay at home orders increase. For this week, crude prices could continue to decline if the market continues to worry that efforts to stimulate the global economy will falter because of uncontained outbreaks.
AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:
- AAA Shell Gas Discount: (http://www.AAA.com/Shell) gives AAA members nationwide a discount on gasoline at Shell stations when they join the Fuel Rewards® program.
- Fuel Price Finder (http://www.AAA.com/fuelfinder) locates the lowest fuel price in your area.
- AAA Gas Cost Calculator (http://gasprices.aaa.com/aaa-gas-cost-calculator/) helps budget travel expenses.
- TripTik Mobile (http://www.aaa.com/mobile) plots fuel prices along your travel route.
- AAA's Member Rewards Visa® Credit Card (http://www.AAA.com/financial/AAAvisa.htm) accumulates double points on fuel purchases.