Gas prices rise sharply in the D.C. metro region

WASHINGTON – Gas prices spiked last week, and the reasons are more complicated than usual.

The average price of unleaded regular in the D.C. metro region, which includes the District and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, checks in at $3.62 a gallon, up 11 cents from a $3.51 average last week, and 21 cents higher than this time last year.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says that spike comes despite a change in the gas tax in both states. Maryland’s gas tax went up 3.5 cents on July 1, while the gas tax in Northern Virginia dropped 3 cents.

Spokesman John Townsend says the impact of the gas-tax changes has yet to kick in.

“Gas station owners still have in their tanks gas that was purchased before the tax went into effect, so we haven’t seen the impact of the tax yet.”

Townsend attributes the spike to increased summer demand and turmoil in Egypt, which controls the major oil route through the Suez canal. And AAA predicts prices across the region could go up to $3.70 a gallon in the weeks ahead.

Here’s how gas prices have changed, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic:

7/14/13 Week Ago Year Ago
National $3.60 $3.47 $3.39
Washington, DC $3.80 $3.72 $3.59
DC Only $3.80 $3.72 $3.59
DC Metro $3.62 $3.51 $3.41
Crude Oil $105.95 per barrel (at Friday’s close) $103.22 per barrel $92.66 per barrel

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