Gas prices rising in Delaware with national average

DOVER — Gas prices are on the rise. Delaware saw the second sharpest weekly increase in the country last week when it rose 9 cents.

According to AAA data, the current average price in Delaware is $2.76 per gallon. This is up from $2.67 a week ago and $2.59 a month ago. A year ago, the average price per gallon was $2.33.

Of the three counties, the Sussex County average is currently the lowest at $2.74 per gallon and New Castle County is the highest at $2.78. However, the state as a whole is still hovering under the national average of $2.81 per gallon.

AAA said on Monday that the national gas price average has reached the highest price per gallon since November 2014. That year, pump prices averaged $3.34, peaking at $3.70 in April and bottoming out at $2.25 in December.

“Motorist have been spoiled the past few years with inexpensive gas prices,” AAA spokeswoman Jeanette Casselano said in a statement. “We expect prices to continue increasing, potentially another 10 cents, through Memorial Day and then will likely stabilize during the summer, with the understanding that if demand spikes, prices are likely to follow.”

According to the Associated Press, the price of U.S. crude oil has been on a mostly steady incline since last June and last week hit $68.64 per barrel, the highest since December 2014. Benchmark U.S. crude closed Friday at $68.10. Drivers won’t be happy, but it’s thought that oil prices near $70 is unlikely to stifle economic growth because the energy sector and related industries have more money to spend on equipment and workers.

A wave of global economic growth has driven up demand for oil, said the Associated Press. At the same time, production cutbacks initiated by OPEC last year have helped whittle down oil supplies.

In the U.S., oil supplies were running 1.1 million barrels lower at the start of this summer’s driving season, which runs from April through September, than a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA projects that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.74 per gallon this summer, up from an average of $2.41 per gallon a year earlier. Gas prices to rise each spring through Memorial Day and slowly decline as the summer goes along.

For all of 2018, the agency expects that the national retail price for all grades of gasoline will average $2.76 a gallon. That would translate into an additional $190 spent on fuel by the average U.S. household this year compared to last, the agency said.

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