VIRGINIA BEACH — Late December’s winter storm and frigid temperatures caused a spike in gas prices, according to AAA Tidewater, with the national average for a gallon of gas rising 12 cents to $3.22.
Refineries as far south as Texas and the Gulf Coast were forced to shut down temporarily as holiday travelers fuelled up and hit the road early to beat the weather, leading to a spike in overall gas demand.
“The cost of gas will likely rise a bit more before this surge stalls due to less expensive oil and a return to seasonal driving patterns,” said Ryan Adcock, AAA Tidewater public relations specialist. “But 2022 will go down as a record year with a national annual average of $3.96. According to fuel expert Tom Kloza of OPIS, that’s 40 to 50 cents more than the previous peak years of 2011 through 2014.”
According to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), gas demand rose from 8.7 to 9.3 million barrels per day last week, while total domestic gasoline stocks fell by 3 million barrels to 223 million.
Tuesday’s national average of $3.22 is 20 cents less than a month ago and six cents less than a year ago.
Locally, the gas price average increased to $3.12, 16 cents higher than a week ago and 16 cents lower than a month ago. In Hampton Roads, prices increased 24 cents to $3.09, which is nine cents lower than last month and one cent lower than a year ago, AAA said.