Why are gas prices going up? Local expert weighs in

Virginia News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Drivers have been on a ride when it comes to gas prices lately.

States across the country are seeing a big increase at the pumps.

In Virginia, the average price of regular gasoline stands at $2.76. That number is up six cents from a week ago, up 30 cents from a month ago, and up 74 cents from a year ago.

Some drivers in Roanoke are seeing the difference.

“Well, gas prices seem to be climbing. It’s $2.75 now,” said Mark Mullins.

Other drivers say they don’t see a solution any time soon.

“It’s steadily climbing, and I don’t see no sign of it going down,” DeQuan Brown said.

Experts say the reason behind the steady increase refers to basic economics. With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out, more people are choosing to leave their homes and explore the outdoors.

But while demand is increasing, supply isn’t catching up — mainly due to the ice storm that devastated Texas in February.

“It’s taken a longer time than we hoped to bounce back from all the refinery shutdowns that we saw back in the ice storm in February,” said Morgan Dean, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “So the Midwest and Texas were shut down, that meant the capacity to refine fuel that we would get at the pumps was cut back, and demand went up just a little bit.”

Higher crude oil prices are also making an impact towards rising gas prices.

Mullins says it’s not fair for drivers.

“I know they’re going up, but you have no choice but to drive, so therefore, you have no choice but to buy the gas no matter what the cost is,” Mullins said.

While Dean says prices will continue to increase for the time being, the rate at which they’re increasing will slow down within the coming days.

“Because the refineries have gone up to full production, so they are kind of replenishing those supplies,” said Dean. “Demand is down just a little bit, so the price increases have slowed as of today.”

Dean adds that there is a possibility that the month of March may end up having the most expensive gas prices throughout the entire year. A possibility of $3 a gallon could also be seen in Virginia within the next month or two.

The national average price of regular gasoline currently stands at $2.88.

“We still have a ways to go to get to $3, but we’re not too far off,” Dean said.

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