AAA reflects on gas price trends throughout 2021

Published: Jan. 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2022 at 12:59 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - As we start 2022, gas prices are down from their highest point in November, but still higher than in years’ past.

GasBuddy predicts the average gas price for the U.S. in 2022 will be $3.41.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean said the shift in supply and demand in 2020 continues to impact prices today.

“In 2020, people parked their cars. There were lockdowns. There were restrictions. They just weren’t putting as many miles on their vehicles, so abundant supplies of fuel with very low demand for fuel,” Dean said.

When vaccines rolled out, more people felt comfortable going out, demand changed, and supply went down.

“We normally see a fallback as the end-of-summer travel season comes around. This year, we didn’t see that. In fact, we saw a very unusual pattern where prices continued to push up all the way into the fall, through the fall, and all the way to Thanksgiving, and we’ve finally seen a bit of relief here,” Dean said.

Dean said one factor that significantly impacts what we pay at the pump is the price of crude oil.

“We’re sitting in the mid-70s right now. We were in the 80s for a barrel of crude oil back in November. If we see prices start to push back up into the 80s or push back up above that, we’re going to see prices start to climb,” Dean said.

On top of that, a major fuel company is seeing a supply shortage.

“We’re also seeing some issues with an ExxonMobil refinery down in Texas, in Baytown, TX. They had an explosion there a week ago. They’re running on reduced capacity for refining items,” he said.

AAA has a few tips for saving money on gas:

  1. Combine several errands into one trip to drive fewer miles
  2. Take things out of your car that might add weight
  3. Remove things like bike racks to reduce wind resistance
  4. Avoid fast takeoffs and fast breaking
  5. Shop around for gas, to a level. (Dean said if you drive too far for gas, you’ve probably gotten rid of any discount you would have gotten.) Use the AAA app to find prices
  6. Look for local discounts

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