RICHMOND, VA (Monday, February 18, 2013) – Gas prices have soared 35 cents in the past 30 days in the Commonwealth, forcing Virginia motorists shell out more and more of their hard earned money to fill their gas tanks. In fact, prices went up a whopping 11 cents since Friday in Virginia and currently average $3.61 for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline.
The high prices drivers are seeing at the pump are a function of the age-old tension between supply and demand, and strangely enough, both are down now. Crude oil supplies are also down in the wake of OPEC’s decision several months ago to lower production by nearly one million barrels per day.
Here is the upshot: a perfect storm is brewing at the gas kiosk as speculative money is flowing into the futures market like an oil gusher, oil prices are rising, and refineries are shutting down for seasonal maintenance. Much of the increase in pump prices stems from the cost of crude oil which has skyrocketed.
As Tom Kloza at Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) notes, “We’ve seen about $11 billion of speculative money come in on the long side of gas futures. Each of the last three weeks we’ve seen a record net long position being taken.”
Gas Prices as of February 18, 2013, for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline:
Change since FRIDAY
Price Last Month
Price Last Year
Up 9 cents
Up 11 cents
Up 16 cents
Up 9 cents
Up 11 cents
Up 14 cents
American motorists are now spending in the neighborhood of $1.3 billion per day to fill their gas tanks. The average household spent $2,912 for gasoline in 2012, which makes up almost 4 percent of pre-tax income, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That figure ties 2008 for the highest percentage in roughly 30 years.
With motorists shelling out a whole lot more money on fuel price and spending a greater percentage of their monthly budgets on gas, AAA is reminding drivers of several AAA tools that can help save money on gas:
Gas Text Alerts from AAA
Receive the lowest gas price and station information for your zip code with this alert by texting GAS and your zip code (for example, GAS 23225) to AAA411 (222411). After receiving a text, reply MORE to see additional gas stations and prices in your area. Visit AAA.com/Mobile for more details.
AAA’s Fuel Price Finder
Unlike other online gas price sites, AAA Fuel Price Finder data from more than 100,000 outlets nationwide comes from actual credit card transactions and direct feeds, not “spotters.” Price data is updated several times daily. Prices are available for within three, five and 10-miles of an intersection. Simply click on http://midatlantic.aaa.com/Outreach/GasInformation.
AAA’s Fuel Cost Calculator
The Fuel Cost Calculator shows travelers what their drive trip will cost by factoring in the make and model of their car, and the distance to the final destination. Visit www.fuelcostcalculator.com.
AAA Mid-Atlantic serves nearly 808,000 members in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is the nation’s fifth largest auto club with nearly 4 million members in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It provides a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 60-plus retail branches, regional operations centers, and the Internet. For more information on AAA Mid-Atlantic, please visit our web site at www.AAA.com. Persons wanting to comment on this issue can go to AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Community pages at http://www.AAA.com/community and post comments. The organization is anxious to hear from travelers with their thoughts on this subject and others.
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Martha M. Meade
Phone: (804) 323-6510 Pager: (804) 543-7190
Contact: Windy VanCuren
Phone: (804) 323-6535 Pager: (804) 921-6198