If you are planning on fueling up before hitting the road for spring break and holiday travel, you will notice gas prices are going up.
In just the past week, AAA says prices in Virginia have increased by about 9 cents per gallon. Comparing that to a month ago, they are up about 25 cents.
According to Morgan Dean with AAA, there have been a couple of factors at play for gas price increases. In the month of March, we go through the changeover of winter blend gas to summer blend gas.
This happens every year to put the more environmentally friendly gas in your tanks. That usually pushes up prices between 10 cents and 20 cents.
Also, a lot more people are hitting the roads as the weather gets warmer. This means higher demand and higher prices.
Another factor that is playing a big role in those prices, is over the weekend some of the oil-producing countries announced they are cutting back on some of their output. This means there is less supply of crude oil and fuel.
“That is a concern for commodity traders who think that crude oil is now going to be in higher demand down the road,” Dean said. “That has pushed up crude oil prices, that intern usually pushes up pump prices.”
Dean said whenever we hear of an output cut, we usually see a jump in prices. He says about 55% of what we pay at the pump is directly related to crude oil.
However, in 2022, there was a massive jump in prices at the pump. Drivers were paying about $4.05 a gallon. That is 65 cents higher than the average of what drivers are seeing today.
Some ways that AAA recommends you could save money on gas is by making sure your car is tuned up before you hit the road. Also, check the air in our tires. If your tires are underinflated, that means more of the tire is hitting the roadway and bringing down your miles per gallon.
Plus, think about how you are packing and loading your car.
“A car top carrier can be great in that it adds a bunch of extra space for luggage and things like that, but that extra weight on top of the car creates wind resistance that brings down your miles per gallon,” Dean said. “So if you can get it all in the back of the car that’s probably a better option.”
He also says to get anything out of your car that you don’t need. If you have fall sports equipment or winter gear, take it out because that extra weight can impact your miles per gallon down the road.
Lastly, download an app that compares gas prices across the region. AAA has one that can help you map out your trip and gas stops along the way.