VIRGINIA BEACH — An announcement by OPEC last weekend that it will cut production by over a million barrels per day starting in a month saw crude surge well above $80 a barrel and the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rise seven cents to $3.55.
“The oil market has had a few days to digest the OPEC news and speculate about the reason. This has led to the price of oil stabilizing for now,” said Ryan Adcock, AAA Tidewater public relations specialist, “but the cost of oil accounts for more than 50% of what we pay at the pump, so drivers may not catch a break at the pump any time soon.”
According to new data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand increased slightly from 9.15 million to 9.3 million barrels per day last week. Meanwhile, total domestic gasoline stocks decreased substantially — by 4.1 million barrels — to 222.6 million.
Increased demand and tighter supply have contributed to pushing pump prices higher, and if demand continues to rise, pump prices will likely follow suit, according to AAA.
Thursday’s national average of $3.55 is 15 cents more than a month ago, but 61 cents less than a year ago.
Locally, the gas price average for the commonwealth increased to $3.42 — nine cents higher than a week ago and 26 cents higher than a month ago. In Hampton Roads, prices increased nine cents to $3.46, which is 41 cents higher than last month and 57 cents lower than a year ago.