RICHMOND — Drivers are are being pinched at the pump as gasoline prices continue their upward climb.
In Virginia, most regional prices are about 50 cents higher than they were at this time last year.
Prior to the announcement of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal, gas prices were expected to continue to rise ahead of Memorial Day, but reinstated sanctions on Iran could mean gas prices will continue climbing deep into the summer driving season.
The national gas price average is $2.87, which is up 6 cents in the last week, up 17 cents in the last month and 53 cents higher than this time last year.
In Virginia, the average price is $2.67 per gallon, up 5 cents from last week and 53 higher than last year.
With Memorial Day weekend less than two weeks away, drivers will likely face pump prices at their highest level since 2014,” said Tammy Arnette, senior public affairs specialist for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
“As the summer driving season gets under way, AAA believes local prices will continue to increase, however it may be weeks before motorists see the full effects of the U.S. pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement and reimposing sanctions,” she said.
Reinstated sanctions on Iran could mean gas prices will continue climbing into the summer driving season. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in its Short Term Energy Outlook that it expects gas prices to average $2.90 per gallon, up from the average of $2.41 last summer.
For 2018, EIA expects U.S. regular gasoline retail prices to average $2.79 per gallon.
Monthly average gasoline prices are forecast to reach a summer peak of $2.97 per gallon in June, before falling to $2.86 per gallon in September.
As drivers brace for a more expensive Memorial Day road trip and summer driving season, AAA offers tips to save on gas. Actions include using gradual acceleration, following speed limits, inflating tires properly and replacing air filters on a regular basis.
One myth to saving on gas was to turn off the vehicle’s air conditioning but that is no longer the case because today’s systems operate much more efficiently and don’t drag as much on the engine.