HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — With rising gas prices, Virginia and North Carolina drivers are left wondering: When they will catch a break?

Just a few weeks ago, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) announced a drop in oil production. That increased the barrel price which subsequently raised oil prices. Those oil prices make up close to 60% of our pump prices.

Luckily, local drivers should start to feel some relief. There was a recent drop in gasoline demand and falling oil prices combined to slow prices.

The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rose less than a nickel since last week to hit $3.68. That was 25 cents more than a month ago, but 44 cents less than a year ago.

The gas price average for Virginians lowered to $3.50. This is two cents lower than a week ago and 28 cents higher than a month ago.

In Hampton Roads, prices dropped three cents to $3.52. That’s 5 cents higher than last month and 45 cents lower than a year ago.

“The recent surge in oil costs took a break this week, with the price of oil tumbling back into the upper $70s per barrel,” said Ryan Adcock, AAA Tidewater public relations specialist. “If this oil price trend continues, drivers may see falling gas prices.”

AAA experts continued to note that “lower demand, alongside growth in stocks, would typically push pump prices down; however, elevated oil prices over the past month pushed them higher.”

Meanwhile, refineries here in the United States are getting back to work after long seasonal closures. More refinery operations will be restarted in the next three weeks, with some planned seasonal maintenance extending into June.

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