Gas prices around the Newtown area were hovering around $3 per gallon as of Thursday morning.
AAA Mid-Atlantic said that average price of gas in the five-county Philadelphia region as of Thursday was $3.01, which is $.23 higher than just a month ago. However, the price is roughly the same as it was this time last year.
AAA Mid-Atlantic provided the following three reasons gas prices are going higher:
- The switchover to summer-blend gasoline – Mandated by the EPA, summer-blend gasoline has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that can contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels. A lower RVP also helps prevent drivability problems such as vapor lock on hot days, especially in older vehicles. However, the summer-blend is also more expensive to produce, and that cost is passed on to the motorist. Refiners must switch to summer-blend gasoline May 1 to September 15.
- Increased demand – With the winter season behind us, motorists are coming out of hibernation (so to speak) and returning to the roads. Seasonal demand increases are typical this time of year and will likely continue in the coming months.
- Increased crude oil prices – Crude oil prices have remained above the $65 mark (highest level in 2019) following an announcement by the Trump administration on Monday (April 22) that the U.S. will not renew sanction waivers for countries importing oil from Iran in an attempt to end all oil exports from that country. Such waivers, granted to allow some countries to continue making limited oil purchases from Iran, are set to expire on May 2. Decreases in Iranian oil exports would tighten the supply in the global market, which has already seen decreases as a result of the U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, along with OPEC’s reduced production.
“Should crude oil prices continue to sit at 2019 high prices, we could see gas prices continue to rise. However, we do not expect more expensive gas prices to impact summer travel. Prices are on par with this time last year and Americans hit the road in record numbers for summer travel,” said Jana Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
GasBuddy statistics show that the highest recorded gas prices in the Philadelphia area were recorded in June 2008 when the price hit an average of $4.14 per gallon.