Just in time for the busy travel season, gas prices are soaring in the Philadelphia region.
AAA Mid-Atlantic said part of the reason for the price increase at local gas stations is due to the massive fire and closure announcement for the Philadelphia Energy Solution refinery. The refinery, the largest on the East Coast, puts out 335,000 barrels of crude per day and accounting for 27 percent of East Coast refining capacity.
The average gas prices in the Philadelphia suburbs was $2.93 as of Tuesday morning. The jump is 5 cents more than before the refinery fire and closure announcement last month.
“For the more than 41 million motorists nationwide, nearly 560,000 from the Philadelphia five-county area, hitting the road this week to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, they will find gas prices cheaper than Memorial Day weekend, but more expensive than they’ve been paying the last few weeks,” said Jana Tidwell, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s typical to see increases at the pump ahead of the holiday, but we may see prices continue to jump throughout the month due refinery interruptions on the East Coast, increasing demand and fluctuations in crude oil price.”
Among the other factors driving up gas prices are crude oil prices, low levels of surplus gas, high demand due to peak summer driving season, and factors relating to the meeting of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, officials said holiday travel is expected to put six million motorists on the toll highway through Sunday. The number of travelers expected this year is an increase of 3.5 percent over 2018.
“With record numbers of motorists hitting the road for the Independence Day holiday, travelers should be properly prepared, plan ahead and expect slower going due to increased traffic,” said Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton.
AAA officials they expect to help thousands of motorists along the roadside over the Fourth of July holiday. Last year, AAA Mid-Atlantic came to the aide of 7,500 drivers in the Philadelphia region. They advised travelers to make sure their vehicles are maintained and ready for any road trip.