Gas prices in the northern counties of West Virginia increased by about 13 cents this week to $2.341 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Fuel Gauge Report.

On the national front, gas prices are on the move, reaching an average price of $2.33 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline.  As of Monday, the price is four cents more than a week ago, one cent more compared to one month ago and 27 cents more than the same date last year. National gas prices have increased six of the last seven days. Although the increase in prices has been moderate, it is possible this trend could continue as refinery maintenance wraps up, more expensive summer-blend gasoline becomes available, and driving demand increases this spring.

The Great Lakes and Central States are currently switching from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline and drivers are seeing significant increases at the pump, with West Virginia (+6 cents statewide) landing on the list of top 10 weekly increases.  Unplanned mechanical repairs and pipeline issues at Valero’s 172,000-b/d McKee and 103,000-b/d Houston refineries in the Texas Panhandle are impacting delivery and tightening supply in the Midwest region.

This morning, the market saw a bump following reports that Iraq plans to increase its production cut compliance as a part of OPEC’s output agreement. This announcement furthered speculation that OPEC and non-OPEC producers may extend their agreement beyond the original six-month deadline of June. The oil reduction deal was brokered last fall in an attempt to rebalance the global oil supply and boost the price of crude oil. While the agreement has lifted the price of crude oil to $50 per barrel, it has also encouraged U.S. producers to invest and drill more. Oil service company Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. increased its rig count by 10 last week, bringing the total to 662.

Traders will keep a close eye on discussions between OPEC and non-OPEC producers and any decisions they make regarding further production cuts through the remainder of 2017.  At the close of last Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate was up 25 cents to settle at $50.60 per barrel.

This week’s average prices:

– West Virginia Average:  $2.341

– Average price during the week of March 27, 2017:  $2.209

Average price during the week of April 4, 2016:  $2.006

The following is a list of the average prices in locations in the immediate are:  $2.399 in Bridgeport; $2.386 in Clarksburg.