WASHINGTON — After an already expensive year at the gas pump, prices are set to rise even higher.
During the winter months, gas at the pump is usually cheaper because of low demand. But not this year. The D.C. region has seen a spike in gas prices, and consumers can expect to fork over even more money to fill up the tank come spring.
The recent price spike is blamed on OPEC cutting oil production in November: “That’s driving up the cost of oil,” said Phil Flynn, an analyst with the Price Futures Group.
Another reason for the price spike is higher demand, he said.
“I think what’s happening here is that we’re seeing the demand for gasoline in the United States hit a record high, and we’re seeing the cost of oil go up in many, many years,” he said.
It’s like clockwork, Flynn said: spring, warm weather and an increase in gas prices.
Each spring, refineries transition to producing their summer-blend gasoline, a cleaner-burning gas for summer. Summer-blend production translates into higher prices at the pump.
Flynn said the switch over to the summer blend usually means an extra 15- to 25-cent increase per gallon. But this year, he said, it could be even higher.
Flynn recommends shopping around because gas prices in the greater D.C. area can vary dramatically.
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