What's worse? While analysts are predicting a 15-cent surge this week, "Prices could rise even more, depending on how the crude market responds to the latest news of a USA missile strike over the weekend", AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. Prices are expected to fall back down after Labor Day.
Including the change in gas prices in Chattanooga during the past week, prices on Sunday were 32.6 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 20.7 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.
The current gas average in Virginia is $2.53, which is the highest gas has been in the commonwealth since the summer of 2015. According to GasBuddy, prices in Colorado rose a little over six cents in the last week. The New York State average is $2.82 this week, up six cents from last week and 30 cents more than this time previous year.
DeHaan added that the usual annual peak for gas prices has been around mid-May, and that refinery maintenance and the annual switch to summer fuel blends has gone according to schedule, while inventory is rising, giving fewer reasons for prices to rise.
Motorists bracing for the annual seasonal spike in gas prices are likely to be hit with an unexpected jolt this week.
The national average Monday was $2.71 per gallon, up five cents in the last week, a price point that was just barely below the 2017 high.
"Ultimately, (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) bears much of the responsibility for cutting oil production in 2017, leaving USA oil inventories at far lower levels than a year ago".
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for gas price comparison site GasBuddy.com, said that's the highest national average price since July 2015. "However, higher oil prices have also enticed US producers to ramp up crude oil exports, effectively draining USA oil inventories at a higher pace than that oil is being replaced", he said. However, we're likely in the closing innings of the seasonal rise - let's just hope we don't go to extra innings.
DeHaan said refinery maintenance has gone well so far, gasoline supply has continued to increase and the transition to summer gasoline supplies is nearly finished.