Posted by Phil Riggan - email
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gas prices are on the rise again. The average price in the Richmond-Metro area is now at $2.14 a gallon. That's up about 16 cents in just the last week alone.
While prices are much better than last year's $3.68 cents....drivers we talked to aren't very happy about the trend.
Typically we start to see gas prices rise this time of year anyway, because of the impending busy summer travel season, but this year, experts say the spike is due to the easing recession.
It's hard not to notice.. after months well below the two dollar mark, gas prices are on the rise, drivers saying the timing couldn't be worse.
A driver says, "There's no reason for it, we're already in a recession, so why compound things with gas prices."
A driver says, "There's record unemployment, people losing their jobs everyday, businesses are shutting down everyday. They know it won't stop people from driving."
But experts say its actually signs of an easing recession that are responsible for the steady climb in oil prices. April recorded the lowest job loss rate in 6 months, a signal consumers have more to spend, bringing more of a demand to hit the nation's roadways. But that's not sitting well with those who say they've already altered their driving habits just to get by.
A driver says, "Who does it benefit? It doesn't benefit me, does it benefit you? It benefits the rich guy once again, OPEC, oil companies, that's just my my take on it." "There's no good reason for it, hey, give us a break too."
But despite rising fuel prices, we're still a long way off from this time last year, when a gallon of unleaded regular was 3.69 and kept many people off the road and forgoing that summer vacation. Memorial Day will be the first true test what this year will bring.
This week AAA predicted the number of Americans traveling this summer will increase by 1.5 percent. Virginia estimates will be released next Wednesday.