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Gas prices still climbing; Virginia hit hard

Thursday - 2/23/2012, 7:19am  ET

gas california Feb 21 (AP)
Customers wait in line to purchase gasoline at a station Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Drivers hope prices go down.

WTOP's Kristi King reports.

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WASHINGTON - The price of gas has been skyrocketing lately, but Virginia seems to be getting hit harder than the rest of the country.

Nationally, demand is down. On the East Coast, however, supply also is down by more than a million barrels of oil a day because several refineries have been shut down.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend says Virginia, which usually has the lowest prices in the country, is now just 3 cents below the national average of $3.58 a gallon. Townsend predicts it will hit $4 this summer.

"It is more exaggerated in Virginia because the prices have been so low," Townsend says.

The latest WTOP Pain in the Gas survey shows the average price of a gallon of regular went up 3 cents to $3.70 over the past week, and up 48 cents over one year ago.

Mid-grade is up by 4 cents to $3.87 a gallon. Premium is also up by 3 cents to $3.99. Diesel has reached $4.07 a gallon.

The average for regular fuel this week is cheapest in Maryland at $3.63. That compares to $3.65 in Virginia and $3.83 in the District.

One year ago, the WTOP Pain at the Pump survey on Feb. 24, 2011 showed a gallon of regular unleaded at $3.22 a gallon, mid grade at $3.39 and premium at $3.50.

Drivers can always search for cheap gas on WTOP.com.

Tell others where you got the best prices. Tweet using #WTOPgas.

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WTOP's Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)