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Pain at the pumps

With summer ending and fall coming, consumers historically see a drop in gas prices. However, this fall, drivers may continue to feel pain at the pump when fueling up.

According to AAA, the national average price of gas has been at a seven-year high in recent days.

As of Monday morning, it was $3.30, up from $3.24 a week ago, $3.18 a month ago, and $2.18 a year ago.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 20, GasBuddy was listing $3.24 a gallon in Prince Edward County at Marathon located at 501 E Third Street.

Murphy’s Murphy USA located at 1804 Peery Dr. was listed at the lowest of $3.16.

Remember when the cost of gas was the cheapest in the Spring of 2020 when people sat at home, businesses and restaurants were closed, and barely anyone traveled?

According to AAA, that drove the cost of supply and demand down, but now oil prices are skyrocketing, and drivers are hitting the roads once again.

“I don’t think we’re going to see much of a decline this fall like we usually see,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for fuel-savings app GasBuddy.

With prices hovering just over $3 a gallon, it costs $13.44 more to fill up a 15-gallon tank today than it did at this time in 2020.

That’s more than $50 a month in additional costs for anyone who fills up weekly.

Cumberland resident Jenifer McCarty is someone who is feeling the pain at the pumps weekly.

“Gas prices have gone up more and more every week,” McCarty said. “Who can afford to fill their car up every week? It cost me $50 for a mid-size vehicle so I can only imagine what it would be for big vehicles.”

According to AAA, Virginia was one of ten states to see the largest increases in their averages at 11 cents since last Thursday, Oct. 14.

AAA noted that high crude prices (above $80 per barrel) remain the main culprit for rising pump prices in a recent press release.

Oil prices were in the low $60 in August and around $70 just last month in September.

While drivers may continue to feel pain at the pumps, there are a few tips from AAA that may help save some money.

— Combine your errands in one trip to limit driving time.

— Shop around for the best gas prices.

— Remove excess weight from the car.

— Drive conservatively. Aggressive acceleration and speeding could impact your miles per hour output.