AAA: Gas prices rising ahead of July 4th holiday

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The heat is not the only thing on the rise. Gas prices are also soaring, and drivers are taking notice.

"I am on empty. I passed like three stations just to stop at the cheapest one which was $2.65. And I said 'why are the prices so high?' She said, 'it's because of the Fourth of July Holiday.' So that is what we are thinking of. We never thought about the refinery," said Carmetta Peebles of Lindenwold, New Jersey.

AAA confirms some of the increase in what you are paying for gasoline can be blamed on rising crude oil prices. But the expected closure of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex after last week's explosion is also driving up prices. Analysts are not sure how long the increase will continue.

"We have become accustomed. When it was down to $1.69, we were like trying to fill up our car. And now it's two something and you still have to buy it. It is a shock but what do we do?" said Peebles.

Some drivers filling up along Route 30 in South Jersey noticed a big bump in prices.

Gas stations like this Speedway, jumped 20 cents overnight, from about $2.51 to $2.71.

Those filling up say, when prices start to spike, they drive around and search for the cheapest gas.

"It really just depends on where you go. You really got to shop for gas nowadays. Even the places where you go and there is a gas station here and one right across the street, there could be a couple of cents difference and we all know that couple of cents can be a major thing in the long run," said Chantelle Reid of Pleasantville, New Jersey.

Here's a look at the numbers.

The average price in Pennsylvania is $2.90, up eight cents in the last week. New Jersey's average is $2.77 and is up two cents in the last week.

Delaware is up 7 cents in the last week, with an average of $2.54.

The Philadelphia five-county area averages $2.91 which is up 3 cents in the last week.

South Jersey is averaging $2.70 and is up eight cents in the last week.

The national average is also $2.70, that's up four cents in the last week.

Drivers we talked to are hoping the uptick at the pump is just temporary.

"It is upsetting, especially now in the summer when you want to go places and your gas is constantly just going so is very upsetting to me," said Rosa Santiago of Camden New Jersey.

"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," said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Motorists in the region will likely continue to see modest increases in pump prices - especially leading up to what is expected to be a high-demand travel period for the Fourth of July," Tidwell said.
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