Gas Prices Climb to Six-Month High

Gas Prices
hand at gas pump

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (May 2, 2016) - Gas prices are at their highest levels in more than six months in Hampton Roads, just hitting the $2 average for gasoline in the area. Today’s average price for regular gas is $2.02 in Hampton Roads. Although the seven cities are feeling the gas price increase the average is only a 10 cent increase from last week and a 13 cent climb from last month. In addition, ample gasoline supplies and relatively lower crude oil costs are helping to sustain year-over-year savings, with today’s price discounted by 31 cents per gallon versus a year ago for Hampton Roads.

Gasoline demand continues to break seasonal records as low prices motivate people to drive more. Additionally, crude oil costs are also increasing and recently reached new 2016 highs. Increased demand and more expensive oil costs have helped to push gas prices over the past few weeks, and prices may move even higher leading into the busy summer driving season.

The lower price environment for gas prices has not only led to drivers taking to the roads at record levels, but is also shifting attitudes about various price points. Attitudes towards gas prices have changed significantly over the past few years, according to a new survey by AAA:

  • Half of U.S. drivers now believe gas is “too high” at $2.50 per gallon. This figure has dropped significantly in relationship to the price of gas. As recently as 2014, half of Americans believed gas was “too high” at $3.30 per gallon, while last year half of Americans believed it was “too high” at $3 per gallon. Only nine percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for more than $2.50 per gallon today.

  • More than 35 percent of Americans believe that gas is “too high” based on today’s average price, even though gas prices are at the lowest levels since 2009. The vast majority of Americans also do not believe that gas is “cheap” today.

Oil is the largest cost associated with producing gasoline, and every $1 change can increase gas prices by as much as 2.4 cents per gallon. The cost of crude has increased by approximately $10 per barrel since the beginning of April, attributed to interruptions in global supply and the expectation that demand will rise in the coming months.

A weakening U.S. dollar and expectations that the Fed will increase interest rates is supporting speculations that the global oil market will begin to come into balance sooner than expected. Geopolitical factors are also likely to influence the market in the near team, and attention remains focused on both OPEC and non-OPEC production based on the current glut in global supply.

WTI reached its highest price for 2016 the last week in April as talks of a weakening U.S. dollar, increased demand and falling output surfaced. However, this boost in price was short lived and reports of increased production out of OPEC pushed prices lower to close out the week.  At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, WTI was down 11 cents and settled at $45.92 per barrel.

   As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia

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