Sept. 01–Labor Day weekend travelers in West Virginia will see gas prices about 36 cents higher than the year before, even though 2017 travelers had to deal with Hurricane Harvey’s effects, according to travel organization AAA.
West Virginia’s average price per gallon of self-serve, regular gasoline was $2.83 Friday, per AAA. That’s up from $2.47 the year before, meaning pricier trips for the 200,000 or so West Virginia travelers AAA expects during the Labor Day weekend.
“When you compare that to last year, and you look at filling up at the pump, it’s about $6 to $10 more per fill up depending on the size of your vehicle’s tank, so that definitely makes a difference,” said AAA spokeswoman Tammy Arnette.
West Virginia’s rising gas prices reflect the national trend. The average price per gallon in the U.S. was $2.84 Friday, up from $2.45 the year prior. That’s the highest gas prices have been during Labor Day weekend since 2014, according to AAA.
Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston and surrounding areas, shut down several oil refineries and pipelines. That tightened access to gas and caused prices to jump quickly in 2017, but prices have continued to climb well after suppliers adjusted to Hurricane Harvey’s effects.
Crude oil’s rising costs are the primary reason for the price bump, AAA said in a recent gas price report. Tumult in major crude-producing countries — Venezuela and much of the Middle East — could continue to keep prices high, the report said.
Still, prices are expected to drop again as providers switch their gas blend around mid-September. AAA anticipates the national gas price will fall to $2.70 this fall.
“The good news is we should be turning a corner soon,” Arnette said. “When temperatures fall, there’s usually less demand for gasoline, and of course there is the switchover to the cheaper winter blend [of gas].”
Unlike in 2017, prices haven’t fluctuated much of late. West Virginia’s average gas price didn’t change from Thursday to Friday, and the average price was 3 cents lower than it was a month ago.
Charleston’s average price per gallon was $2.85 Friday, a tick above the state average.
The Huntington-Ashland area’s gas prices were far cheaper. The average price there Friday was $2.69 per gallon, even though its average price the month before — $2.87 per gallon — was higher than both the West Virginia and national average.
Arnette said AAA hasn’t encountered anything in the Huntington-Ashland area it could point to as the reason for the lower prices.
Reach Max Garland at email@example.com, 304-348-4886 or follow @MaxGarlandTypes on Twitter.
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