Monday, December 5, 2022

Here’s what you need to know about gas prices as fall approaches

Gasoline prices in Hampton Roads are lower than the national average, but more expensive than 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy Adobe)
Gasoline prices in Hampton Roads are lower than the national average, but more expensive than 2017. (WYDaily/Courtesy Adobe)

Gas prices are expected to tumble as summer turns to fall.

Fuel prices could drop by 14 cents per gallon nationwide this fall, said the American Automobile Association (AAA) in a press release.

In Hampton Roads drivers are paying $2.59 for a gallon of gas on average. That matches the Virginia average, and is already down 17 cents since Memorial Day.

Prices are expected to continue to fall for a variety of reasons. By the middle of September gas stations will begin pumping winter-blend fuel, which is cheaper to produce than summer-blend gasoline.

Fuel demand typically falls each autumn as well, as fewer drivers take vacations and road trips once the summer ends.

“Cheaper-to-produce gasoline and relatively stable crude oil prices in August, combined with an anticipated drop in consumer gasoline demand post-Labor Day, means consumers will see savings when they fill-up at the pump this fall,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokesperson for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “However, several outliers can reverse this forecast, including crude oil prices, geopolitical tensions and the mere threat of a hurricane.”

AAA said the market for crude oil has been volatile in 2018, and that could carry over into fall. Some market forces that could cause fuel prices to spike include the crashing economy of crude oil-producing Venezuela, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, and the implementation of sanctions on Iran.

September and October are peak months in hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an active season, potentially meaning more large storms than in most years.

Hurricanes typically drive up gas prices by presenting logistical challenges and supply constraints to gas companies.

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