Just in time for the holidays, gasoline prices have jumped as much as eight cents a gallon in the region, thanks to the impending closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery and ongoing tensions in the Mideast, according to AAA.
On the bright side, fuel prices are lower than they were a year ago, or even on Memorial Day, just a month ago.
“The closure of the PES refinery, the largest on the East Coast, will likely have a temporary impact on gas prices in and around our region, though it is too early to know how much prices could increase or for how long, especially during the peak summer driving season,” Jana L. Tidwell, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a statement.
The June 21 refinery fire, followed by Wednesday’s announcement that the plant would be closed, was only partly responsible for the increases. Crude oil prices have increased by 11 percent in the last two weeks, which analysts attribute to tensions in the Middle East as well as uncertainty over a U.S. trade deal with China.
Motorists will likely see modest increases into next week, the AAA spokeswoman said, as a record number of vacation travelers — nearly 49 million — are expected to hit the roads for the Fourth of July.
Friday’s national gas price average is $2.70, which is up four cents in the last week, down 12 cents in the last month, and is 15 cents less than last year’s price.
In Pennsylvania, the average prices was $2.90, up eight cents in the last week. In South Jersey, the average price was $2.70, up eight cents for the week. And in the five-county Philadelphia area, the average price was $2.91, up three cents for the week — but down 12 cents from a year ago.