Gas prices predicted to rise in Virginia, nationwide

Gas prices expert says costs could hit $2.75 a gallon this summer in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – This week, people all around the country are talking about rising gas prices. Experts are saying summer travel is going to be more expensive than usual nationwide and in southwest Virginia.

The anticipated increase has some drivers frustrated.

"I think it's terrible the way they're going up. Of course it's getting to be the driving season so naturally they'll come up with the excuse about the price of oil,” West Virginia resident Lacey Shepherd said as he was traveling to Roanoke Tuesday.

Other drivers said they’ll just deal with whatever happens.

"If we're going to go we're going to go,” Pennsylvania resident Arlene LaBarre said as she was taking a break from a drive on Interstate 81.

GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan studies prices and said Tuesday that the price per gallon in Roanoke has gone up 4 cents in the last week, up to $2.55. He said it will continue to go up in the next few weeks.

"Gas prices continue to go up,” DeHaan said. “The outlook isn't the best especially if you're one that takes frequent trips to the gas station to fill your tank."

There was a 5 cent increase nationwide in the last week.

"Kind of painful if you're filling that tank up. The average fill up is now about $25.50 to fill up 10 gallons. That prices continues to go up,” he said.

He said this summer, gas should cost between $2.50 and $2.75 a gallon in Roanoke, the highest mark since the 2014 hike when gas prices in Roanoke were well over $3 per gallon.

If the projection pans out, road trips will cost more. Compared to some time periods last summer, driving to Washington D.C. and back will cost more than $15 more. A round trip to Myrtle Beach will cost about $19 more than last summer. A trip to Orlando will be nearly $50 more expensive.

DeHaan said the increase is, in part, because the price of oil is the highest since 2014. OPEC cut oil production 15 months ago, dropping inventories and leading to lower supply.

"That has pushed the price of oil up and that's largely the culprit for the rising gas prices,” he said.

He said prices will continue to rise in the coming years as the economy strengthens and as demand increases.