Gas prices in the Levittown area topped $5 a gallon Friday, according to data from AAA and Gas Buddy.
The price is matched around the region. As of Saturday morning, AAA said the Philadelphia regional average was $5.01 per gallon.
The $5.01 price average is the highest recorded and followed months of rising prices that have impacted drivers and businesses.
The new average is $1.85 more than at this time last year.
The national average was $4.81 as of Saturday.
A Middletown Township gas station had the highest local price at $5.19 per gallon, while most stations were at $4.95 to $4.99.
The region was last hit with record high gas prices in the summer of 2008 when prices in the Levittown area were reported to be around $4.10 per gallon.
Adjusted for inflation between 2008 and 2022, the summer 2008 gas price would cost about $5.51 per gallon today.
“After several weeks of soaring gas prices, last week saw prices nationally slow down ahead of Memorial Day, but I’m afraid the good news ends there,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
The factors that go into rising gas prices are complicated and vary.
De Haan said a years-long decline in refining capacity and Russia’s war on Ukraine have impacted worldwide prices.
“While gasoline demand has been seasonally soft, the large decline in refining capacity over the last few years has meant that refiners are struggling to produce even lower amounts of refined products. This has led inventories to struggle to see any gains, boosting concern that they won’t be able to catch up,” he said.
The Texas Midland Reporter-Telegram cited economist Ray Perryman as stating production is increasing, but global oil demand is expected to be high in the coming months. Further sanctions on Russian oil will also take supply off the market.
“The invasion is still a major factor and will continue to be, but there are other concerns as well,” Perryman told the newspaper.
High gas prices haven’t appeared to have a major impact on travel in the region.
“So far, the pent-up urge to travel caused by the pandemic outweighs high pump prices for many consumers,” said Jana Tidwell, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “But 67 percent of drivers recently surveyed told us they would change their driving habits if gas hit $4.50 a gallon. That number rises to 75 percent at $5 a gallon. If pump prices keep rising, will people alter their summer travel plans? That remains to be seen.”
AAA provided the following tips to save gas while driving:
Get your vehicle checked out. Perform regular car maintenance at the intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer in the owner’s manual or as indicated by the in-car maintenance reminder system. Did you delay regular maintenance during the pandemic because you were driving less? Now is the time to get it looked at. Find a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility here.
Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can decrease your gas mileage by approximately 3 percent. Not to mention, properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. Check pressure in all four tires every two weeks with an accurate, hand-held air pressure gauge.
Know your octane. Do not purchase mid-grade or premium gas unless your owner’s manual specifically recommends it. According to AAA research, Americans waste more than $2.1 billion annually on premium gas in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. AAA found no benefit to using premium gas instead of regular-grade fuel. At the time of the study, 70% of U.S. drivers owned a vehicle that required only regular gasoline.
Avoid idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Letting your vehicle idle for more than 10 seconds uses more gas than shutting it off and restarting. Don’t start your car until you are ready to go. The engine actually warms up more quickly once the car is operating, and will stay warm after stopping. Avoid drive-up windows – park and go inside instead.
Observe the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.15 per gallon of gas. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.
Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.
Consolidate trips. Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. With a little planning, you can avoid retracing your route and reduce the distance you travel as well. You’ll not only save fuel, but also reduce wear and tear on your car.
Minimize drag. Drag reduces fuel efficiency. Driving with the windows open, using roof- or rear-mounted racks and carrying heavy loads increase vehicle drag. A roof rack or carrier provides additional cargo space and may allow you to meet your needs in a smaller, more fuel efficient car. However, a loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5 percent. Reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your fuel economy by using a removable rack and placing items inside the trunk whenever possible. Avoid carrying unnecessary items, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1-2 percent.
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