MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A report from AAA East Central puts gas prices at the highest level since 2014.
The average price in Northern West Virginia this week is $3.28 compared to $3.13 in 2014 and $2.48 one year ago. The prices are similar in other parts of West Virginia.
AAA East Central Director of Public Affairs Jim Garrity said Tuesday that crude oil prices are fueling volatile pump prices. Garrity said oil accounts for 50 to 60-cents for every dollar spent at the pump.
“Toward the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 oil prices were hovering around $40 to $50 a barrel,” Garrity said. “Today, they’re up around $90.”
Garrity said $4 a gallon is not out of the question some time this summer.
“From our perspective at AAA we’re really looking at it on a week-by-week basis and not looking too far ahead,” Garrity said. “We can say $4 a gallon gas on the national average is not out of the realm of possibility.”
The rules for gas price trends have been rewritten due to the pandemic and worldwide instability. A report from the Energy Information Administration also reports domestic gasoline stocks are up, demand is down slightly, yet prices continue to rise.
“This is typically the time of year you would see some of the cheapest gas prices of the year,” Garrity said. “Because demand is low, not as many people are out driving and we are consuming winter blend gasoline.”
With typical rules to determine trends largely neutralized, analysts keenly watch world events, operations at refineries and the supply systems to determine the driving forces behind gas prices.
According to Garrity, now is the time to combine trips, use economical driving habits and manage time better to be more efficient on the road.
“Statistically you’re putting yourself at a higher risk of dying in a crash, you’re not getting to your destination that much faster,” Garrity said. “You’re burning gasoline a lot less efficiently, so you’re spending more money.”
Instead of taking the drive to Myrtle Beach more people may opt for a trip to the lake or the park. The pandemic has forced us to look to new places for entertainment and this is no different.
“Fortunately, I think one of the things people learned during the pandemic and one of the advantages of living in the United States of American is we have a very diverse landscape to choose from,” Garrity said. “A very beautiful series of national parks, state parks, local parks and a lot of destinations in our backyard.”