WASHINGTON — A November spike in the local price of gasoline has many Washington-area residents complaining about the pain at the pump.
But it’s not a hike built to capitalize on the heavy Thanksgiving weekend traffic on local highways. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, it’s the direct result of some refinery issues on the Gulf Coast that have impacted gasoline supplies in the region.
“We’ve got some planned maintenance that took some refineries offline and some unplanned maintenance that happens when they develop a problem,” says AAA’s Lon Anderson. “That combination has got our prices moving up right now.”
He adds that the higher prices currently being seen at the pump are a temporary phenomenon.
Anderson predicts prices will be back on a downward trend soon, and should be back to pre-spike levels before Christmas.
AAA also points out that even with the current increase, gas prices are much lower than they were at this time last year.
Last Thanksgiving, the national average for a gallon of self-serve was $3.50. Now, it is about $3.25 nationally and $3.40 locally.
Barring unforseen circumstances, prices should stay down throughout the winter when fewer drivers take to the road and there is less demand for fuel, Anderson says. And there is plenty of supply on the world market right now — with more to come if Iran increases production — and that should help keep gas prices down.