Gas prices hit highest level in 7 years

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (NBCNC/WHEC) — If you’ve been noticing prices at the pump ticking up, it’s not your imagination. Gas prices are at their highest level in seven years.

Experts say the pandemic depressed the need for fuel, meaning there was a lot of it flowing around, pushing prices downward, so, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) slowed production.

As businesses started to reopen and Americans started getting out more, the need for fuel increased, but OPEC production levels have lagged behind the demand, so now prices are up.

Experts like AAA Spokesman Andrew Gross say you’d better buckle up because prices could fluctuate through the fall.

"It’s probably going to be fluctuating all the way through the fall. Normally this time of year we would see a drop off in prices as summer travel season drops off, the kids are back at school, but the higher price of crude oil has negated that effect.

Gross said one way to improve your car’s fuel economy is to keep it running in tip-top shape.

"Check your tire inflation. That’s probably the easiest thing, you know, make sure your tires are properly inflated. And if you are really conscious about buying gas and you have a long trip and you’re on the highway, remember, gasoline prices will always be highest at the stations closest to the exit. So if you get off at an exit, maybe don’t go to the first station, go to the one that’s maybe a mile down the road and chances are when you will find gas, it’s a little cheaper at that station."

Experts say the further you are from the supply, the higher your gas prices will go, so gas prices will be highest in the west, and lowest along the Gulf Coast.