Day by day, gasoline price signs around Halifax County continue nudging upward back into record territory.
By Thursday morning, Virginia’s average for a gallon of gas had already tied the record of $4.25 set on March 11, according to AAA.
That marks nearly a 20-cent jump in only a week.
Also Thursday, AAA reported the average price was $4.21 per gallon in Halifax County.
“With the cost of oil accounting for more than half of the pump price, more expensive oil means more expensive gasoline,” Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson, said earlier this week. “These prices are creeping closer to those record high levels of early March.”
It also means costs are $1.46 a gallon higher than a year ago, according to GasBuddy.
On Tuesday, the national average broke the March record by a penny rising to $4.36 per gallon. By Thursday it has reached $4.42, GasBuddy reported.
Experts say prices could climb higher heading to Memorial Day.
“Liquid fuels have turned into liquid gold, with prices for gasoline and diesel spiraling out of control with little power to harness them as the imbalance between supply and demand globally continues to widen with each passing day,” said Patrick De Haan, a spokesperson for GasBuddy. “There’s little, if any, good news about fuel prices heading into summer, and the problem could become worse should we see an above average hurricane season, which could knock out refinery capacity at a time we badly need it as refined product inventories continue to plummet.”
For motorists, it means digging deeper into their wallets to pay for a fill-up. But with diesel prices already at record levels, the pains will be felt across the board on other items.
The price of diesel has risen dramatically nationally in the past week and stood at $5.55 per gallon Thursday, the highest ever.
“While motorists filling with gasoline have seen a slight rise in prices, diesel’s surge will be a double whammy as diesel prices will soon be passed along to retail channels, further pushing up the cost of goods,” De Haan said. ““Not only are diesel prices at a record high, they are at their largest differential to gasoline on record, surpassing the 98-cent difference in 2008 and currently standing at a $1.20 per gallon premium.”
A steady climb in oil prices — around $110 a barrel — is blamed for the rapid rise at the gas pumps, GasBuddy reports.
“In addition, U.S. petroleum inventories saw yet another weekly decline as we near the start of summer driving season,” De Haan said.
Even with the gas price surge, AAA predicts drivers will pay the price to travel this summer.
A recent AAA poll indicates that summer travelers, many of whom put off plans during the pandemic, are now ready to go.
That survey found more than 90% of those making summer travel plans are planning a trip within the U.S. and nearly half are planning multiple getaways.
Most will be traveling the open highway.
“The return of the Great American Road Trip is evident in all our AAA stores and in our AAA Car Care centers, with everyone from our travel advisors to car care technicians as busy as they have been in years,” Lynn Miller, a spokesperson for AAA said.