Refineries soon will begin the process of switching to summer gasoline blend production, which is also expected to put upward pressure on prices.
"Gas prices are expected to rise steadily as many refineries temporarily close for scheduled turnaround maintenance and as the industry begins the complicated process of switching over to summer blends of gasoline," AAA analyst Avery Ash said in his latest forecast.
Refinery issues already are having a trickle-down effect in the state.
Both the ExxonMobil and Phillips 66 refineries in Illinois have had to shut down some capacity to conduct repairs in the last month.
That has siphoned off some gasoline supply in the Great Lakes states, which has a domino effect into the West Virginia market.
"We operate on such lean inventories that it doesn't take much to put things into a tailspin," said Jan Vineyard, president of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association.
Vineyard said the fact that refinery issues are already affecting prices in February is not welcome news for local retailers.
"It's a little bit early for that, but nonetheless it has happened," she said.
Nationally, gas prices averaged $3.34 a gallon in January, according to the Energy Information Agency.
The EIA forecasts prices will continue to rise through spring and peak at $3.59 a gallon in May, before declining through the summer driving season. The agency predicts the national average will continue to fall to $3.25 a gallon by the end of 2013.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.