RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gas prices in Central Virginia are on the rise yet again and new record highs could be on the horizon.

According to GasBuddy.com, average gas prices in the Richmond region recently matched its record high of $4.25 a gallon. That’s a 19-cent jump since just last week, and $1.28 more expensive than it was at this time last year.

Average gas prices in Richmond over the last six months (Chart courtesy of GasBuddy.com)

This is not the first time this year that gas prices have hit this record. Gas prices initially hit this peak of $4.25 on March 10 in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

If the trend from last week continues, prices may surge past this peak and we may be in for a new record high as early as tomorrow.

National gas prices also set a record high today of $4.36 per gallon. The previous record was $4.35 and was set on March 10.

Why are gas prices rising again now?

The sudden jump may not be a result of geopolitics in Eastern Europe, however, but a result of an anti-smog law right here in the United States that restricts the sale of ethanol-blend fuel during the Summer months.

The so-called Summer blend – normally sold between May 1 and Sept. 15 – is about ten cents more expensive per gallon, but doesn’t evaporate in the heat as readily, meaning it contributes less to dangerous smog and greenhouse emissions during the hot Summer months.

President Joe Biden recently waived that rule for some stations this year, allowing them to sell the cheaper blend in an effort to drive down prices.

But that exception only applies to stations already selling a specific type of fuel called “E15,” which make up a small proportion of the gas stations in Virginia.

That means most have still had to switch over to the Summer blend, potentially contributing to the recent rise in prices.